107% rule

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The 107% rule is a sporting regulation affecting Formula One racing qualifying sessions. During the first phase of qualifying, any driver who fails to set a lap within 107 percent of the fastest time in the first qualifying session will not be allowed to start the race. However, in exceptional circumstances, stewards may permit the car to start.

The 107% rule was introduced for the 1996 season and remained in force until 2002. It was reintroduced for the 2011 season with minor modifications due to the knock-out qualifying format.

History[edit]

"Any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107% of the pole position time will not be allowed to start, save for exceptional circumstances accepted as such by the stewards of the Event. Should there be more than one driver accepted in this manner, their order will be determined by the stewards."

–The 107% rule as expressed in Article 134 of the 1997 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.[1]


Introduction[edit]

The governing body of F1, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), introduced the 107% rule at a meeting of its World Motor Sport Council in June 1995, immediately prior to the French Grand Prix.[2] This followed a recommendation from the Formula One Commission, a working group of F1 representatives, to introduce such a measure.[3] Over the previous few years, the number of entries per season had dropped to 26, the maximum threshold for race starters, allowing every entrant to qualify for the race regardless of speed. For 1995, new technical regulations spaced out the field, whilst numerous teams with comparatively small budgets and slow cars, such as Forti, Pacific and Simtek, were competing in the sport. The regulation was originally planned to come into effect from the 1995 Hungarian Grand Prix, but this required unanimous support amongst the teams, and was vetoed by Forti and Pacific. Nevertheless, the fact that it was supported by the majority of the teams allowed the 107% rule's introduction from the start of the 1996 season.[3] The mid 1990s also brought a number of pay drivers to the sport whose speeds would not have allowed one to race, such as Giovanni Lavaggi and Jean-Denis Délétraz.

Commenting on the introduction of the 107% rule, FIA President Max Mosley said that "any small team which is properly organised will be able to get within the 107 per cent margin".[4] The sport's commercial rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone, agreed with this sentiment, saying in an interview that "Formula 1 is the best. And we don't need anything in it that isn't the best." He also accused some of the smaller teams of having a "startline special" mentality, in that they were solely concerned with entering the race to gain television coverage for their sponsors, and were not too occupied with actual performance given that all the entrants were guaranteed to make the race.[5] On the other hand, the smaller teams were concerned at the prospect of having to lap within a maximum time in order to qualify, which they saw as exacerbating the inequalities already existent within the sport. Pacific's commercial manager, Mark Gallagher, said: "We have to say the 107% rule gives rise to concern among teams without works engines. It's got more to do with engines than chassis, and that's an area outside our direct capability. Closing the gap to Minardi is quite feasible, but the sudden arrival of the rule is worrying. If you have three years to plan whether or not to do something, that's very different from having the goalposts moved while you are playing the game."[3]

Application[edit]

The 107% rule was thus introduced at the 1996 Australian Grand Prix. It was breached immediately, as Forti drivers Luca Badoer and Andrea Montermini failed to lap within the required time of Jacques Villeneuve's pole position time. This had been an expected outcome, as the team was using an upgraded version of the previous year's Forti FG01 chassis, which had only qualified within 107% of pole position on one of thirty-four occasions beforehand.[6] Both drivers also failed to qualify for the European Grand Prix, the fourth round of the championship. At the following race, the San Marino Grand Prix, Badoer drove the more competitive FG03 chassis for the first time, whilst Montermini failed to make the 107% cut in the older car.[7] Both then failed to qualify for the Spanish Grand Prix two races later. By the tenth round of the championship, the British Grand Prix, the team was running out of money and made only a token attempt to qualify after not taking part in the preceding free practice sessions, neither car making the time limit.[8] Following the next race, in which the team did not complete any laps at all, Forti withdrew from Formula One. In the latter half of the season, the Minardi team replaced regular driver Giancarlo Fisichella with the paying Giovanni Lavaggi, who failed to make the 107% cut at the German, Belgian and Japanese Grands Prix.

In 1997, the 107% rule was only invoked at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Villeneuve again set pole position with a time over a second faster than his nearest rival, resulting in a well-spaced field.[9] As a result, Pedro Diniz, Vincenzo Sospiri and Ricardo Rosset all failed to make the 107% mark. Diniz was allowed to race at the discretion of the race stewards, who judged him capable of lapping within the limit, as he had indeed done so during the free practice session prior to qualifying.[9][10] The FIA cited "exceptional circumstances" as the reason for his failure to do so during the qualifying session itself.[11] Sospiri and Rosset, driving for the new MasterCard Lola team, were, however, five and six seconds off Diniz's time respectively, and well outside the qualification limit.[9] Neither driver was allowed to start the race, and the team folded before the next Grand Prix.

During the 1998 season, Rosset—now driving for the Tyrrell team—failed to qualify on five occasions. He lapped outside the 107% time during qualifying sessions for the Spanish, Monaco, Hungarian and Japanese Grands Prix. He also failed to qualify for the German Grand Prix, but this was due to him not completing any laps at all after injuring his right elbow as a result of a heavy crash during free practice.[12]

The 107% rule was invoked on two occasions in 1999. At the first round of the championship—the Australian Grand PrixMarc Gené failed to lap within the required percentage of the pole position time in his Minardi. As with Diniz two years earlier, he was given dispensation to race after lapping within the limit during the free practice sessions.[13] At the French Grand Prix later in the season, a qualifying session marked by a varying intensity of rainfall saw five drivers—Damon Hill, Gené, Luca Badoer, Pedro de la Rosa and Toranosuke Takagi—miss the cut-off, but all were allowed to start the race.[14]

After a 2000 season in which no driver transgressed the 107% rule, it was enforced on three occasions in 2001. At the opening race in Australia, Tarso Marques failed to lap within the required time for Minardi. He was given permission to race under the reason of "exceptional circumstances", but this was despite the fact that he had not managed to set a time within the 107% mark in any session all weekend.[15] It was rumoured that Marques was allowed to race because the team had been bought prior to the start of the season by Australian Paul Stoddart, who wanted both cars to compete in Minardi's new "home" Grand Prix.[16] At the British Grand Prix, Marques again fell foul of the regulation, but was not allowed to start on this occasion.[17] The Belgian Grand Prix also witnessed a wet qualifying session in which the track steadily dried, resulting in the four slowest qualifiers—Jos Verstappen, Fernando Alonso, Enrique Bernoldi and Marques—failing to lap within 107% of pole position. As in the similar case of the French Grand Prix two years previously, all were allowed to start the race.[18]

The Arrows team deliberately failed to qualify for the 2002 French Grand Prix due to financial problems.

The 107% rule also came into effect during the 2002 season. At the first round of the championship, the Australian Grand Prix, Takuma Sato crashed heavily during free practice and had to use the Jordan team's spare car for qualifying, only for the replacement to stop with a gearbox problem without setting a time. By the time his team-mate, Fisichella, did his first run and handed over his own chassis, it had begun to rain, leaving Sato with no chance of making the required time. However, he was allowed to start the race as in the case of previous cases affected by changeable weather conditions.[19] Minardi driver Alex Yoong failed to qualify for the San Marino, British and German Grands Prix under the conditions of the rule, a turn of events which led to his replacement by Anthony Davidson for two races.[20] At the French Grand Prix, the Arrows team was running out of money and made a token appearance during the qualifying session to avoid FIA-imposed fines for missing rounds of the championship; drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Bernoldi failed to lap within the required time. Frentzen subsequently left the circuit with ten minutes of the session still remaining, making the team's ploy obvious.[21] Fisichella also failed to set a time during this session, although this was the result of his withdrawal from the event following a heavy crash during free practice.[21]

In total, there were 37 cases in which 107% rule was broken during the period in which it was a Formula One Sporting Regulation. Of these, thirteen drivers were allowed to start the relevant race due to "exceptional circumstances". The rule affected 23 out of the 116 Grands Prix in which it applied.

Abolition[edit]

The qualifying system changed for the 2003 season with the introduction of two ordered single-lap sessions to replace the previous free hour-long session in which drivers were allowed to complete twelve laps. Drivers also had to qualify with the race fuel on board their cars. Due to the scope for greater time disparities throughout the field that could occur as a result, the 107% rule was not mentioned when the FIA finalised the format prior to the beginning of the season, despite an earlier assurance that the rule would still apply.[22][23][24] The governing body subsequently proposed the formal cancellation of the rule,[25] which ceased to apply with effect from the 2002 Japanese Grand Prix.

Following the 2003 season, the timing of the two single-lap sessions was altered for them to occur on the same day, within 15 minutes of each other. This proved unpopular with the smaller teams, who were liable to make their runs at the end of the first session (as this was run in championship order) and at the beginning of the second session (which was run in reverse order of the results of the first session), and with TV spectators, who had to watch a longer programme as a result. During the 2004 season, the system's flaws were exposed, and proposed changes to the qualifying system made mid-way through the championship at one point seemed to suggest that the 107% rule would return as part of a new format. In the end, however, only minor changes relating to the timing of the existing sessions were made.[26] Minardi team owner Paul Stoddart was particularly opposed to the reintroduction of the rule.[27]

Reintroduction[edit]

At the start of the 2010 season, new FIA President Jean Todt said that he was in favour of re-introducing the 107% rule, as the qualifying system has changed again so that all of the sessions are carried out with low fuel levels.[28]

On June 23, a meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council determined that the 107% rule would be reintroduced for the 2011 season. The rule is based on 107% of the fastest time set in the first of the three qualifying sessions for each race.[29]

List of 107% rule violations[edit]

Year Event Pole position time 107% time Driver Team Time  % of pole[30] Allowed to race?
1996 Australian Grand Prix 1:32.371 1:38.837 Italy Luca Badoer Italy Forti 1:39.202 107.395 No
Italy Andrea Montermini 1:42.087 110.518 No
European Grand Prix 1:18.941 1:24.467 Italy Andrea Montermini Italy Forti 1:25.053 107.742 No
Italy Luca Badoer 1:25.840 108.739 No
San Marino Grand Prix 1:26.890 1:32.972 Italy Andrea Montermini Italy Forti 1:33.685 107.802 No
Spanish Grand Prix 1:20.650 1:26.295 Italy Luca Badoer Italy Forti 1:26.615 107.396 No
Italy Andrea Montermini 1:27.358 108.317 No
British Grand Prix 1:26.875 1:32.956 Italy Andrea Montermini Italy Forti 1:35.206 109.590 No
Italy Luca Badoer 1:35.304 109.702 No
German Grand Prix 1:43.912 1:51.186 Italy Giovanni Lavaggi Italy Minardi 1:51.357 107.165 No
Belgian Grand Prix 1:50.574 1:58.314 Italy Giovanni Lavaggi Italy Minardi 1:58.579 107.239 No
Japanese Grand Prix 1:38.909 1:45.833 Italy Giovanni Lavaggi Italy Minardi 1:46.795 107.973 No
1997 Australian Grand Prix 1:29.369 1:35.625 Brazil Pedro Diniz United Kingdom Arrows 1:35.972 107.388 Yes
Italy Vincenzo Sospiri United Kingdom Lola 1:40.972 112.988 No
Brazil Ricardo Rosset 1:42.086 114.230 No
1998 Spanish Grand Prix 1:20.262 1:25.880 Brazil Ricardo Rosset United Kingdom Tyrrell 1:25.946 107.082 No
Monaco Grand Prix 1:19.798 1:25.383 Brazil Ricardo Rosset United Kingdom Tyrrell 1:25.737 107.443 No
Hungarian Grand Prix 1:16.973 1:22.361 Brazil Ricardo Rosset United Kingdom Tyrrell 1:23.140 108.012 No
Japanese Grand Prix 1:36.293 1:43.033 Brazil Ricardo Rosset United Kingdom Tyrrell 1:43.259 107.234 No
1999 Australian Grand Prix 1:30.462 1:36.794 Spain Marc Gené Italy Minardi 1:37.013 107.242 Yes
French Grand Prix 1:38.441 1:45.331 United Kingdom Damon Hill Republic of Ireland Jordan 1:45.334 107.002 Yes
Spain Marc Gené Italy Minardi 1:46.324 108.008 Yes
Italy Luca Badoer 1:46.784 108.475 Yes
Spain Pedro de la Rosa United Kingdom Arrows 1:48.215 109.929 Yes
Japan Toranosuke Takagi 1:48.322 110.038 Yes
2001 Australian Grand Prix 1:26.892 1:32.974 Brazil Tarso Marques Italy Minardi 1:33.228 107.292 Yes
British Grand Prix 1:20.447 1:26.078 Brazil Tarso Marques Italy Minardi 1:26.508 107.534 No
Belgian Grand Prix 1:52.072 1:59.917 Netherlands Jos Verstappen United Kingdom Arrows 2:02.039 108.893 Yes
Spain Fernando Alonso Italy Minardi 2:02.594 109.389 Yes
Brazil Enrique Bernoldi United Kingdom Arrows 2:03.048 109.794 Yes
Brazil Tarso Marques Italy Minardi 2:04.204 110.825 Yes
2002 Australian Grand Prix 1:25.843 1:31.852 Japan Takuma Sato Republic of Ireland Jordan 1:53.351 132.045 Yes
San Marino Grand Prix 1:21.091 1:26.767 Malaysia Alex Yoong Italy Minardi 1:27.241 107.584 No
British Grand Prix 1:18.998 1:24.527 Malaysia Alex Yoong Italy Minardi 1:24.785 107.291 No
French Grand Prix 1:11.985 1:17.023 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen United Kingdom Arrows 1:18.497 109.046 No
Brazil Enrique Bernoldi 1:19.843 110.916 No
German Grand Prix 1:14.389 1:19.596 Malaysia Alex Yoong Italy Minardi 1:19.775 107.240 No
107% rule after adoption by first qualifying round (from 2011)
Year Event Q1 fastest time 107% time Driver Team Time  % of fastest[30] Allowed to race?
2011 Australian Grand Prix 1:25.296 1:31.266 Italy Vitantonio Liuzzi Spain HRT 1:32.978 109.006 No
India Narain Karthikeyan 1:34.293 110.547 No
Turkish Grand Prix 1:27.013 1:33.103 Japan Kamui Kobayashi Switzerland Sauber No time set N/A Yes
Spanish Grand Prix 1:22.960 1:28.767 Germany Nick Heidfeld United Kingdom Renault No time set N/A Yes
Monaco Grand Prix 1:15.207 1:20.471 India Narain Karthikeyan Spain HRT No time set N/A Yes
Italy Vitantonio Liuzzi Yes
Canadian Grand Prix 1:13.822 1:18.989 Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio Russia Virgin 1:19.414 107.575 Yes
Belgian Grand Prix 2:01.813 2:10.339 Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio Russia Virgin 2:11.601 108.035 Yes
Italy Vitantonio Liuzzi Spain HRT 2:11.616 108.047 Yes
Australia Daniel Ricciardo 2:13.077 109.246 Yes
Germany Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes No time set N/A Yes
Japanese Grand Prix 1:32.626 1:39.109 Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes No time set N/A Yes
Italy Vitantonio Liuzzi Spain HRT Yes
Korean Grand Prix 1:37.525 1:44.351 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Spain HRT No time set N/A Yes
Indian Grand Prix 1:26.189 1:32.222 Germany Timo Glock Russia Virgin 1:34.046 109.116 Yes
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 1:39.782 1:46.766 Brazil Rubens Barrichello United Kingdom Williams No time set N/A Yes
2012 Australian Grand Prix 1:26.182 1:32.214 Spain Pedro de la Rosa Spain HRT 1:33.495 108.486 No
India Narain Karthikeyan 1:33.643 108.658 No
Spanish Grand Prix 1:22.583 1:28.363 India Narain Karthikeyan Spain HRT 1:31.122 110.340 Yes
United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom McLaren Excluded N/A Yes
Monaco Grand Prix 1:15.418 1:20.697 Mexico Sergio Pérez Switzerland Sauber No time set N/A Yes
British Grand Prix 1:46.279 1:53.718 France Charles Pic Russia Marussia 1:54.143 107.399 Yes
Italian Grand Prix 1:24.175 1:30.067 Germany Nico Hülkenberg India Force India No time set N/A Yes
Korean Grand Prix 1:38.397 1:45.082 India Narain Karthikeyan Spain HRT No time set N/A Yes
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 1:41.497 1:48.601 Germany Sebastian Vettel Austria Red Bull Excluded N/A Yes
2013 Australian Grand Prix 1:43.380 1:50.616 France Charles Pic Malaysia Caterham 1:50.626 107.009 Yes
Chinese Grand Prix 1:35.793 1:42.498 Australia Mark Webber Austria Red Bull Excluded N/A Yes
Monaco Grand Prix 1:23.452 1:29.293 France Jules Bianchi Russia Marussia No time set N/A Yes
Brazil Felipe Massa Italy Ferrari Yes
British Grand Prix 1:30.995 1:37.364 United Kingdom Paul di Resta India Force India Excluded N/A Yes
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 1:40.693 1:47.741 Finland Kimi Räikkönen United Kingdom Lotus Excluded N/A Yes
2014 Australian Grand Prix 1:30.775 1:37.129 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado United Kingdom Lotus No time set N/A Yes
Chinese Grand Prix 1:55.516 2:03.602 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado United Kingdom Lotus No time set N/A Yes
Spanish Grand Prix 1:27.238 1:32.837 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado United Kingdom Lotus No time set N/A Yes
Canadian Grand Prix 1:16.471 1:21.052 Mexico Esteban Gutiérrez Switzerland Sauber No time set N/A Yes
British Grand Prix 1:40.380 1:47.406 Sweden Marcus Ericsson Malaysia Caterham 1:49.421 109.006 Yes
Japan Kamui Kobayashi 1:49.625 109.210 Yes
German Grand Prix 1:17.631 1:23.065 Sweden Marcus Ericsson Malaysia Caterham No time set N/A Yes
Hungarian Grand Prix 1:24.941 1:30.886 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes No time set N/A Yes
Venezuela Pastor Maldonado No time set N/A Yes

Use in other formulae[edit]

The 107% rule has also been used in other motorsport formulae.

GP2 Series[edit]

It is currently in operation in the GP2 Series, where it has been applied on three occasions. Marcos Martínez failed to qualify for his debut race meeting at the Hungaroring in 2007 after failing to set a lap time due to engine problems, despite lapping within 107% of the fastest time in free practice.[31] At the Monaco round of the 2009 season, Ricardo Teixeira failed to lap within 107% of the pole position time and was not allowed to take part in the races.[32] During qualifying for the round of the championship held at the Hungaroring later that year, Romain Grosjean and Franck Perera collided before either had set a representative lap time: Perera was judged guilty of impeding and was barred from taking part in the first race, but allowed to start from the back of the grid in the second; Grosjean was given dispensation to start both races.[33] Perera also failed to qualify for the Spa-Francorchamps races under the 107% criteria.[34]

GP3 Series[edit]

The 107% rule is also used in the GP3 Series. So far, a driver has only failed to qualify on one occasion. In the 2012 Silverstone round, Carmen Jordá failed to set a lap time within 107% of the pole time. As she was also outside 107% of the fastest time in the practice session, she was not allowed to start the race.

Super GT[edit]

In Super GT series, a slightly different 107% rule is being used. The base time was being calculated by averaging time of top 3 vehicles in their class rather than by taking pole position time. All drivers in the non-seeded team must finish within this time in order to qualify for the race. However, teams which could not qualify in official qualifying sessions, may still be allowed to retry in following day's practice session, providing reasons such as accidents. In this case, the 107% of top 3 cars in practice session's will be used instead, in return, they will start at the back of the grid. In race using knockout format, a separated qualifying will be launched prior the knockout qualifying to decide teams which are allowed to take part in the race.[35]

Another major difference of 107% rule in Super GT is that there is a protection system called "seeded teams", which is awarded to each class's team which participated in all races and finished within top 12 in the previous season. "Seeded teams", provided they met other entrance requirements, are allowed to participated in the race even when they have not met the qualifying time in official qualifying sessions. The right will be forfeited when the team switches class or withdraws from the series, the void caused by this will not be filled by other teams.

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ Domenjoz, p. 221.
  2. ^ "World Council decisions". grandprix.com. 1995-07-03. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  3. ^ a b c Dodgins, Tony (1995-06-29). "Top Story: F1 grid cut threatens small teams". Autosport 139 (13): 4–5. 
  4. ^ Henry (ed.) (1995), p. 38.
  5. ^ Roebuck, Nigel (1995-07-06). "Fifth Column: Never mind the width". Autosport 140 (1): 25. 
  6. ^ Henry (ed.) (1996), pp. 92, 101.
  7. ^ Henry (ed.) (1996), p. 136.
  8. ^ Henry (ed.) (1996), pp. 92, 185.
  9. ^ a b c Henry (ed.) (1997), p. 107.
  10. ^ Henry (ed.) (1997), p. 100.
  11. ^ "F1 teams race home to test". grandprix.com. 1997-03-17. Retrieved 2009-03-27. 
  12. ^ Henry (ed.) (1998), p. 192.
  13. ^ Henry (ed.) (1999), p. 99.
  14. ^ Henry (ed.) (1999), p. 149.
  15. ^ Henry (ed.) (2001), p. 115.
  16. ^ "GRAND PRIX RESULTS: AUSTRALIAN GP, 2001". grandprix.com. Retrieved 2009-03-27. 
  17. ^ Henry (ed.) (2001), p. 198.
  18. ^ Mansell (ed.), pp. 353, 379, 495.
  19. ^ Henry (ed.) (2002), p. 91.
  20. ^ Henry (ed.) (2002), p. 81.
  21. ^ a b Henry (ed.) (2002), p. 180.
  22. ^ "FIA: 107% Rule is Still On for 2003". atlasf1.autosport.com. 2002-10-29. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  23. ^ "FIA clarifies F1 qualifying regulations". autosport.com. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  24. ^ "Qualifying format finalized". grandprix.com. 2003-02-26. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  25. ^ "The 107% rule to be axed". grandprix.com. 2003-02-27. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  26. ^ Baldwin, Alan (2004-06-28). "FIA and Teams Agree to Leave Qualifying As Is". atlasf1.autosport.com. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  27. ^ Cameron, David (2004-06-13). "107% Rule Will Not be Reintroduced". atlasf1.autosport.com. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  28. ^ Noble, Jonathan; Elizalde, Pablo (2010-03-12). "Todt in favour of 107 per cent rule". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  29. ^ "2011 F1 Sporting Regulations". Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  30. ^ a b Rounded to three decimal places.
  31. ^ "Martínez not allowed to debut in GP2 this weekend". GPUpdate. 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  32. ^ Maggy Parries (2009-05-23). "Trident Racing's Davide Rigon, 9th while Ricardo Teixeira did not start". automobilsport.com. Automobilsport. Archived from the original on 2009-07-26. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  33. ^ "Franck Perera handed penalty". gp2series.com. GP2 Series. 2009-07-24. Archived from the original on 2009-07-26. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  34. ^ Glendenning, Mark (2009-08-28). "Di Grassi penalised for blocking". autosport.com. Haymarket Publishing. Archived from the original on 2009-09-21. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  35. ^ http://supergt.net/supergt/2010/10regulation/index.htm
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