The FIA is reinstating the 107% rule for qualifying, effective 2011. This rule was first implemented in 1996, with the idea of ensuring that the slowest cars in the field wouldn’t be so slow as to create a hazard for the other cars. When single-lap was introduced in 2002, however, the 107% rule was eliminated. However, as free qualifying sessions have returned to the sport (for the Q1 sessions at least), and also since there are three new teams, with a fourth likely joining the field in 2011, the FIA has now seen fit to apply the 107% concept again.
In official statement, the FIA said, “From 2011, any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107 per cent of the fastest Q1 qualifying time will not be allowed to take part in the race. Under exceptional circumstances, however, which may include setting a suitable laptime in a free practice session, the stewards may permit the car to start the race. Should there be more than one driver accepted in this manner, the grid order will be determined by the stewards.”
In conjuntion with the this, the FIA will further clean up qualifying by penalizing cars that are driving too slowly or erraticallyy during in or out laps. A maximum lap time will be introduced.
The official FIA statement read as follows: “With immediate effect, any car being driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically, or which is deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers, will be reported to the stewards. This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry or the pit lane. In order to ensure cars are not driven unnecessarily slowly on in-laps during qualifying or reconnaissance laps when the pit exit is opened for the race, drivers must stay below the maximum time set by the FIA between the safety car line after the pit exit and safety car line before the pit entry. The maximum time will be determined by the race director at each event prior to the first day of practice, but may be amended during the event if necessary.”