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Monaco qualifying split in two

The GP2 qualifying session in Monaco on Thursday is to be split into two groups to avoid a second year of on-track chaos, the series has revealed.
The GP2 Series organisers have decided that the format for qualifying for this year's Monaco feature race is to be modified, in an effort to reduce the overcrowding on track that led to a spate of collisions between cars in 2011.

"There'll be 2 groups," revealed the official Twitter account for the feeder series. "Each group will run for 14 minutes. The overall fastest driver from both groups will take pole."

Even-numbered cars will run in one group and odd-numbered cars in the other, meaning that each group has one car from each team. This does result in the risk of the second group to go out having the crucial advantage of better track conditions, as more rubber is laid down and grip levels increase, so there will be a ballot to decide which 13-car group runs first.

The one-off change to qualifying at Monaco is in response to a problematic qualifying session last year that saw multiple collisions as 26 cars proved too much traffic for the notoriously tight and twisting street circuit. The incidents included an accident between two DAMS team mates that left both cars with significant damage.

Three drivers ended up with grid penalties, one of which cost Giedo van der Garde the pole position he thought he'd won. Eventual 2011 GP2 champion Romain Grosjean was also penalised for causing a collision. However, the penalties handed out were less severe than usual because "the stewards consider[ed] other competitors must also share some of the responsibility."

Stewards also took the the extraordinary step of releasing a statement slamming the driving tactics seen in qualifying, and especially the way that cars had crawled to a halt as car back as the Swimming Pool as they queued up trying to find space to start a flying run out of Rascasse.

"The stewards consider this practice as unacceptable, potentially dangerous, and it is this that has contributed to an unnecessarily problematical qualifying session which did not do justice to the GP2 Series," said the stewards following the 2011 session. The stewards went on to take an equally strict view of incidents in the F1 sessions, with Lewis Hamilton memorably coming off the worse for his outspoken post-race comments over two penalties he received during the Grand Prix.

As for tyre choices this year, Pirelli will be supplying two sets of soft tyres as the prime choice for tyres for the Monaco race weekend, with the two sets of option tyres consisting of the super-soft compound. In all other GP2 races in 2012, the split is three sets of primes to just one set of options.

"The new tyre rules for GP2 are an exciting development that will introduce a bigger element of tyre strategy and management to the race weekend," said Pirelli's racing manager Mario Isola. "With two sets of the softer compound available to them at any point in Monaco, the GP2 drivers will need to think really carefully about when to use them, but they will end up with more experience of running on a faster compound."




Related Pictures

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Charles Pic (FRA, Barwa Addax Team) on track at Monaco. 2011 GP2 Series. Round 3. Monte Carlo, Monaco. May 2011. [Picture credit: Glenn Dunbar/GP2 Media Service.]
Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams) who was among those penalised for causing an accident during the qualifying session. 2011 GP2 Series. Round 3. Monte Carlo, Monaco. 26th May 2011. Thursday Qualifying. [Picture credit: Charles Coates/GP2 Media Service.]
Stefano Coletti (MON, Trident Racing) caused a red flag in the qualifying session as a result of a collision with Fabio Leimer. 2011 GP2 Series. Round 3. Monte Carlo, Monaco. 26th May 2011. Thursday Qualifying. [Picture credit: Charles Coates/GP2 Media Service.]
Patric Niederhauser (SUI, Arden International) in Parc Ferme after race 2 at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. (Photo: Glenn Dunbar/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Patric Niederhauser (SUI, Arden International) celebrates in Parc Ferme after race 2 at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Patric Niederhauser (SUI, Arden International) celebrates with champagne on the podium after race 2 at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Photo: Alastair Staley/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Patric Niederhauser (SUI, Arden International), Dean Stoneman (GBR, Koiranen GP) and Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix) on the podium after race 2 at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. (Photo: Glenn Dunbar/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Dean Stoneman (GBR, Koiranen GP), leads Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix) & Dino Zamparelli (GBR, ART Grand Prix) at the start of race 1 at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Saturday 11 October 2014. (Photo: Alastair Staley/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Dean Stoneman (GBR, Koiranen GP) takes the flag as he wins race 1 at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Saturday 11 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Dean Stoneman (GBR, Koiranen GP) celebrates winning race 1 at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Saturday 11 October 2014. (Photo: Alastair Staley/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Dean Stoneman (GBR, Koiranen GP) in action at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Friday 10 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Dean Stoneman (GBR, Koiranen GP) celebrates winning pole position at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Saturday 11 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Dean Stoneman (GBR, Koiranen GP) celebrates winning pole position at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Saturday 11 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Arthur Pic (FRA, Campos Racing) after qualifying at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Friday 10 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix), Arthur Pic (FRA, Campos Racing) & Takuya Izawa (JPN, ART Grand Prix) after qualifying at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Friday 10 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) after qualifying at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Friday 10 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Arthur Pic (FRA, Campos Racing) & Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) after qualifying at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Friday 10 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) after qualifying at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Friday 10 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)

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DBL

May 21, 2012 8:59 PM

It is sensible, until it rains in the 2nd session. Or dries in the 2nd session from a wet 1st session. Or those running in the 2nd session get better track grip and quicker times because more rubber was put down after the 1st session. Someone will moan.



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