From the start of the 2005 season, the grid position of a driver will be based on the aggregate lap times set in the first and second qualifying sessions. In 2005, as in 2003 and 2004, qualifying will consist of two qualifying sessions. However, next year, both sessions will be crucial for the drivers’ grid position, with the first session taking place on Saturday from 14.00hrs local time and the second session on Sunday from 10.00hrs local time.
As in 2004, both sessions will be single lap qualifying sessions, however, in 2005 drivers will contest the Saturday session in the reverse order of their finishing positions in the previous race. The teams may decide the amount of fuel they use for this session.
For the Sunday qualifying session, the cars may be refuelled, but the amount of fuel used for this session may not be changed for the race, and the same regulation is applied for the set-up. The aggregate of the lap times set in the Saturday and Sunday sessions will then decide the grid positions.
“For the first time TV will be able to show all the cars doing a flat-out lap that counts for the grid with minimum fuel,” said FIA President Max Mosley, “And then that will be combined with the other one on the following morning, so the complaint that we never see the cars with minimum fuel going flat-out is answered.”
Engines must now last for two races rather than just one, with any unscheduled change resulting in a 10-place penalty on the grid. That will put a premium on reliability.
Front wings have been lifted by 50mm to reduce downforce and those at the rear have been brought forward 150mm relative to the centre line between the rear wheels. The diffuser at the rear becomes shallower, at around 40 percent the height of 2004 levels. The changes, intended to cut downforce by about 25 percent to slow cars on safety grounds, should make cars 'twitchier' toand more spectacular to watch with their reduced grip
Tyres must last for qualifying and the race. "The focus in the factory has been to recover that downforce and obviously it won't be until the early races of the season that we'll see how well each team has done," said Williams' co-owner Patrick Head. Testing has seen teams experiment with innovative aerodynamic parts, notably McLaren with a horn-like wing on the engine cover.
Tires must last for qualifying and the race. The reason being that harder, and therefore more durable, tires will reduce cornering speeds. This means pit stops will look very different, with fewer mechanics involved as cars take on fuel without tire changes, and will be less frequent. Tires can be replaced in the event of a puncture or damage caused by debris but not during a re-fuel. Drivers would previously have changed tires two or three times during a race, after 70 to 100km, in carefully orchestrated pit stops. They must now last around 350km. All drivers will be allowed three sets of the same specification tyres for Saturday and Sunday. One will be used for Saturday practice, another for qualifying and the race while the third set is held back in case of a puncture.
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