Hungarian Grand Prix: New qualifying format to be brought in after Imola cancellation

Some new changes will be made to qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix which will restrict which tyres teams can use

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Formula 1 will use a revised qualifying format at the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend, after originally being planned for the Imola race. This weekend is not part of the Sprint format, but the teams will still have to contend with a different approach to the standard qualifying session on Saturday.

The usual Q1, Q2 and Q3 sessions will determine this weekend’s grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix. New changes have been implemented this weekend following months of delays after it was initially set for cancelled Imola.

The rule change will come into place for the all-important qualifying hour in Budapest. Rather than being able to have a free choice of tyre, teams will be made to go through each portion of qualifying using a specific tyre compound.

Q1 will see all teams forced to use the Hard tyre, Q2 the medium and Q3 on the soft. The reason for the new change will allow Pirelli to reduce the amount of tyre sets brought to the Grand Prix with two sets of tyres per car no longer required to be brought to the race.

Teams will have 11 sets of tyres for each car, with teams being given four sets of softs, four sets of mediums and three sets of hards. All three compounds being mandated will mean at least one of each set will be used during qualifying.

Mercedes senior race strategy engineer, Joseph McMillan said: “It will definitely add to the challenge. When it comes to qualifying, we are usually focused on how we get the best out of the soft tyre on a single lap.

That includes assessing what the optimum tyre preparation is, what the best out-lap profile looks like, among other things. We must now think about that for three different compounds. But one change that makes life slightly easier for the teams is the fact Pirelli have brought along the softest compounds in their range for the event.”

At last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix, teams were only able to use C2, C3 and C4 tyres but this year drivers will be required to use the C3, C4 and C5, so this year’s hard tyre will compare to last year’s medium.

New tyre changes will come into place this weekendNew tyre changes will come into place this weekend
New tyre changes will come into place this weekend

The mandated compound usage will require the teams to approach qualifying differently to normal. Failure to understand how to run the cars with each of the compounds could mean that drivers will get knocked out of qualifying early.