If your a young ‘un watching F1 you may think it has always been like this. Qualifying broken down into three sections.
But it hasn’t.
Back in the golden era it was 1 hour long.
Drivers could go out whenever they wanted.
They had 12 laps and that was it
So why did it change to what we see today?
It is all for TV
Back in the era of Mansell , Prost, Piquet, the first 30 minutes of qualifying was dead.
It was a great opportunity for the smaller teams to get some air time.
And at the end you has some epic finishes.
Senna leaving it until the last moment, crossing the line with only a few seconds left in the session, everyone watching the man, enthralled by the man. Can he do it?
But the quiet period at the start of qualifying was seen as a problem.
The nail biting finishes were forgotten, ignored, thought they could be replicated with the new system.
What they forgot was that the quiet period at the start of the session gave contrast to the last minutes.
The quite period amplified the last chaotic minutes
Now the tension is flat. No contrast, no excitement
All in the name of getting cars out early.
In the name of homogenizing the hour
We lost the tension, we lost the drama, we lost the crescendo
We lost the lows but we also lost the highs…