Both Red Bulls, both Force India’s and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas get to keep their grid positions after a debate about the 107% rule application.
Article 35.1 of the FIA Sporting Regulations deals with the 107% rule which deals with the drivers that have failed to set a time within 107% of the fastest lap time of the session.
Article 35.1 states: “During Q1, any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107% of the fastest time set during that session, or who fails to set a time, will not be allowed to take part in the race.
“Under exceptional circumstances however, which may include setting a suitable lap time in a free practice session, the stewards may permit the car to start the race.
“Any driver accepted in this manner will be placed at the back of the starting grid after any other penalties have been applied. Should there be more than one driver accepted in this manner they will be arranged on the grid in the order they were classified in P3.”
Q1 for the Hungarian Grand Prix lasted almost an hour with 4 red flags. At the end of the session a few drivers did not set times within 107% of the sessions best time which was Nico Rosberg’s 1:33.302.
Applications were received for Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa, Jolyon Palemer, Kevin Magnussen, Marcus Ericsson, Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto.
Of the above mentioned drivers, Massam Erisccon, and Haryanto were allowed to start as they had crashed out during Q1. The remainder of the drivers, were classified higher up the order and were clear of the drop zone in Q1 but still failed to set times within 107% of the fastest time. It is this loop hole that a few teams were seeking clarity on.
The FIA, in the end, decided that it will allow the drivers to start the race in the positions they had qualified in owing to “exceptional circumstances” and that Article 35.2 a) iii) should take precedence over Article 35.1 of the FIA Sporting Regulations.
Article 35.2 a) defines how the grid is made up.
i) The last eight positions will be occupied by the cars eliminated during Q1, the fastest in 19th position.
ii) The next eight positions will be occupied by the cars eliminated during Q2, the fastest in 11th position.
iii) The top ten positions will be occupied by the cars which took part in Q3, the fastest from the position on the grid which was the pole position in the previous year or, on a new circuit, has been designated as such by the FIA safety delegate.
The teams were able to successfully argue that the grid must be made up of the cars that qualified in Q3 despite that their Q1 times were not within 107%.