The format did provide drama. James Hinchcliffe and Fernando Alonso had to wait until the final two qualifiers ran to see if they made the race.
Some of the old Bump Day flavor was back with rumors swirling about deals and shared parts and information. the rain delay may have had something to do with it, but it was a fun atmosphere.
Every 100 years, a driver from France wins the pole. That’s not good news for Sebastien Bourdais.
Qualifying Weekend Tweaks
For next year I would like to see Bump Day be a timed period, say 90 minutes, for cars not in the race to make a maximum of three attempts to make the field.
As far as the Fast Nine, it is a dinosaur concept intended to be filler when there were only 33 cars. It may be good for television, but I think an extended Bump Day as I proposed would be a better use of that brief network TV window. Let the pole winner be the fastest qualifier on Saturday. That’s your Saturday TV drama.
Limit cars to three attempts per day. Several cars went out to use runs as practice time. If teams have exclusive use of the track, it should be for a serious run.
I was surprised that the track didn’t open for practice in the middle of Saturday afternoon.
Even in defeat, Fernando Alonso was gracious enough to come to the media center with Gil DeFerran to discuss their week.
Yesterday I think was the first time I nave ever seen Sage Karam smile. He was more at ease in interviews than I’ve seen him after his run. His best comment, referring to Hinchcliffe and the stress of the last two days, “I’m surprised James hasn’t had a heart attack yet going through this two years in a row.”
The new sealant seems to help dry the track quicker, which would be a good thing on Race Day. I just hope we never have to find out on that day.
I’ve seen some people say this year’s qualifying was a good argument for guaranteed spots. I think it was a better argument against it. Would have great stories like Dragonspeed and Juncos with guaranteed spots? It would be hard if more full time teams join the series.
I have never seen so little attention paid to who wins the pole. I didn’t mind it. I think the pole should be decided first, like on Saturday. The true story of qualifying is in the smaller teams who make the field, sometimes at the expense of a bigger team or champion driver.
Bronze badge holders have pit access today.
I will have a summary of the session later today.