The US F1 Powerboat Tour announced it is making changes to its qualifying procedures for both the Formula One and Formula Lights classes. The organization expects the modifications, which essentially eliminate the long-used format of drivers qualifying one at a time around a racecourse, to open the door to even more dramatic action leading up to the Grand Prix.
Starting positions for the next US F1 race will be determined by a new qualifying session. Photo by Paul Kemiel Photograhics
The new process, in which qualifying positions will focus on drivers working around traffic in short time segments using strategy and skill to move along through three qualifying sessions and fighting for the coveted fastest time pole position, will be put to the test in the US F1 opening round at the Maple City Grand Prix in LaPorte, Ind. (June 3-5).
Here’s a closer look at how the new process will work: Qualifying shall consist of a total of three rounds with boats being eliminated after the first two rounds.
• The first round shall be 8 minutes in length with a maximum of 10 boats in two different groups.
• The second round shall be 6 minutes in length featuring the 10 quickest qualifiers from the first round.
• The third and final round shall be 5 minutes in length featuring the fastest five boats from the second round.
Once established, US F1 officials will determine the starting lineup for the first heat race of the weekend using results from qualifying by taking boats that failed to reach the second round starting 11th position to the tail end of the starting grid off the starting dock.
Boats in the sixth to 10th positions will be determined using second round times while the final group of five at the head of the field will be seeded based on their qualifying times in the final round.
“This is a wonderful new wrinkle that has been in the process of really transforming our qualifying show and making it much more exciting for our fans to enjoy this intriguing ‘strategy session’ of drama on the water,” said Pat Whitcomb, the chief referee for the US F1 tour.