According to reports, F1 teams could be barred from operating their ‘special’ modes during qualifying sessions. This rule may effectively come into play as early as the race in Belgium, on the 30th of August.
Currently, teams tend to have specialized modes that they run during qualifying to achieve the best possible grid position, come race day.
These full power modes tend to demand the maximum amount of engine battery life and power. Thus, teams operate these high-performance modes only during qualifying sessions, rarely during the race.
As per a report, “The Race understands that teams have been informed a rule change could be rapidly implemented to ban such modes as of the Spa round in just over two weeks’ time.”
The FIA could enforce the new rule by making it mandatory for the teams to run their qualifying modes for a certain duration of the race.
Since the current ‘specialized’ qualifying modes can’t be run for more than a few laps before it exacts a heavy toll on the engine, teams will have to develop lesser-powered qualifying modes which are possible to run during a chunk of the race.
However, this new rule could yet be pushed to 2021, pending further discussions. Nevertheless, the jury is out on whether the new rule can drastically change the make-up of the starting grid.
In any case, it’s unlikely that the Mercedes F1 team would be affected too much.
Mercedes F1 driver Valtteri Bottas gives insight into the team’s usage of engine modes during qualifying
Valtteri Bottas reveals that the pace the W11 naturally possesses makes it unnecessary to go full tilt during every qualifying session.
He said, “We know that with the quick car we have, we don’t necessarily have to use the highest engine mode in Q1. If we can save the engine, we save it. And towards the end of the quali, we are going to be running full power.”
The Mercedes cars have thus far dominated in qualifying. The Silver Arrows have locked out the front row 4 times in 5 races. This dominance is likely to increase as the season progresses.
Currently, it looks as though Max Verstappen is the only one capable of taking a place on the front row.
Can the new rule provide us with spicier qualifying sessions and race? Who knows? But it’s well worth a try. After all, fans are open to anything as long as it means more entertaining races.