Shortened Silverstone F2 Qualifying ‘Not a Big Issue’, Drivers Say

Shortened Silverstone F2 Qualifying ‘Not a Big Issue’, Drivers Say

qualifyingShortened Silverstone F2 Qualifying ‘Not a Big Issue’, Drivers Say

FIA Formula 2 Championship Qualifying at Silverstone was interrupted by two red flags and shortened to fit the weekend schedule, but the top three from the session told InsideF2 that the changes did not significantly disrupt their run plans and mindsets.

The 30-minute qualifying session for Round 9 began at 15:10 BST instead of 15:05, meaning there was already a shorter window during which it could be completed before Formula 1’s second free practice got underway at a scheduled start time of 16:00.

An accident for Amaury Cordeel exiting Copse brought out the red flag with 19:43 to go. This red flag lasted 11 minutes and 43 seconds while Cordeel’s car was removed and the barrier repaired.

Three and a half minutes after Qualifying resumed, race control announced that regardless of the time left on the clock, the chequered flag would be waved at 15:47 local time. Another red flag then came out immediately afterward, with 11:22 remaining, to reset the session after the ruling, though the clock kept running during this stoppage.

The session restarted again at 15:38 local time with nine minutes on remaining on the clock and continued to its scheduled end without further interruption. In total, drivers lost seven minutes and five seconds of the scheduled 30 minutes.

An FIA document cited that the stewards made the decision in consultation with the race director under FIA International Sporting Code articles 11.9.3.b, which allows for the modification of the supplementary regulations for the event, and 11.9.3.o, which permits the modification of the official event programme ‘in the interest of safety’.

Before taking pole position on his second run, ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins had set a 1:40.576 before the first red flag to lead by 0.157 seconds. He did not go out for a run in the middle part of the session and thus was unaffected by the resetting of the clock.

“I don’t know what happened with the timing,” he told InsideF2 at the post-session press conference. “I got some information [from] my engineer saying that the session was shortened by a bit – I don’t know why – but we remained focused on what we could do, on what we had in our hands.

“Honestly, I was on provisional pole on the first set, so I was just staying focused on the job to do on the second one, trying to improve the balance, trying to find times in my driving compared to Théo [Pourchaire], so we had a bit of time to look at it. And honestly, it was okay.

“I think when you are in front, it’s always better because you can have the lap time already done and you are there, so anyway, if it’s staying [under a] red flag, you are still on pole. But I will say it’s just waiting and managing the situation mentally.”

For Campos Racing rookie Kush Maini, who took his best-ever F2 qualifying result with second place, the loss of track time did not matter given that everyone still had a chance to set flying laps at the end of the session.

“There was a bit of confusion there, but honestly, I think we all did our second set, so it is what it is.

“Sometimes I think you just have to stay focused on what you can control. And in terms of track time, I think the race trim car feels completely different to the quali trim anyways, so I don’t think track time is an issue.”

Third-placed Ayumu Iwasa, the pacesetter in Practice ahead of Martins, echoed Maini’s indifference. He and DAMS teammate Leclerc were the first two cars out of the pit lane when the session restarted for the final time, giving each of them the opportunity to set a second flying lap at the very end of the session.

“Even for me, I think it was not a big issue. We were preparing for the second run, and also, I was checking some data from run one to improve, to see what I can improve for the second run,” he said.

“It was quite a good process with the engineers, and also I think at the end, the green flag was coming quite quickly, so some teams in front of us couldn’t go straight away at the green.

“That’s why we were able to have a clear place on the track, which was good, and then just from that point, I was focusing on my performance.”

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qualifyingShortened Silverstone F2 Qualifying ‘Not a Big Issue’, Drivers Say