This weekend's Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix will see Formula 1 trial a new qualifying format at the Imola circuit in a bid to spice up the grid.
Formula 1 is head to Imola for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix this weekend and with it comes a new idea for qualifying on Saturday. The new format aims to mix up the grid with teams having to run seperate compounds of Pirelli's tyres throughout the session.
In Q1 teams will have to run the Hard compound tyre which is the slowest tyre of the three which is mainly used for long runs during a race as it is more durable but it does offer less grip. In Q2 the Medium compound tyre will be used which is offers more grip than the Hard tyre but degrades faster. For Q3 the Soft compound tyre will be used which is the fastest tyre in the Pirelli range however the tyre wear is a lot higher and can only be used for a short distance in both the race and qualifying when drivers are pushing to the limit.
It is not only qualifying that F1 hopes the new format will have an impact on as the tyre selection in qualifying will also effect teams race strategies. The sport hopes that will varying strategies that it will make racing more exciting and involve a lot more pit stops compared to the usual one stop races that fans have grown acustommed to.
However F1's plans to introduce the new format this weekend could be cut short with heavy rain forecast and potentially once again effecting qualifying and the race. For the last two years rain has played a part at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix seeing big crashes, controverisal moves at the start of the race and a Max Verstappen masterclass in wet weather driving. Heavy rain has effected the region the circuit is located in for weeks with AlphaTauri even sending out a message of support to people living there and their employees with the team headquaters being in Faenza.
Along with the goal of making the race more exciting and opening up the strategy to teams, Pirelli also want to reduce the limit of wasted tyres not being used on a Sunday night after a grand prix. For Imola and other venues testing the format the normal tyre allocation of 13 sets will be reduced to 11 sets. The original allocation of 13 sets of tyres saw the teams have eight sets of softs, three sets of mediums and two sets of hards. With the teams being reduced to 11 sets of tyres they will be given four sets of softs, four sets of mediums and three sets of hard hards.
This new tyre allocation should see drivers and teams have two sets of mediums and two sets of hards available to them allowing the strategy to open up. Before with the old tyre allocation drivers went into the race more often than less with only one set of mediums and one set of hards available to them causing a one stop strategy with more managability on tyres and less pushing to catch drivers in front.