Nyck de Vries (NLD), Mercedes Benz EQ, EQ Silver Arrow 02

New qualifying format proves to be a knockout success

The first weekend of the 2021/22 Formula E World Championship is over and with the new qualifying format being one of the key talking points going into the season, it proved to be a success.

The group qualifying format allowed drivers to have more than one attempt at setting a lap, leaving them with more of an opportunity to progress.

Many people had concerns about the new knockout style format for the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final, but it was short, snappy and created some late tension to the end of every lap.

The format allowed the best drivers on the grid to really show their true potential, along with rewarding the drivers who put together a consistent lap.

For me, the group qualifying feels a little dragged out with some drivers waiting until neat the end of the session to take to the track. However, this is something we saw quite a lot last season and cars being on track for five or six minutes is still better than the two and a half minutes that we got with the old format.

I think one reason that many people found the new qualifying format confusing was how it was originally marketed with no real clarity on how eliminated drivers would line up.

This is something that really didn’t prove a problem with the final grid becoming very clear as the session went on.

The new format was exciting and you could see efforts being made throughout the weekend to improve the viewer’s experience of the format. Originally we had both drivers true to time before the final was on tape delay which had both drivers starting their lap times at one time.

On Saturday, the first dual was a tape delay on-board which was exciting and probably the best format they have tried and I think this is what they may try more going forward.

However, Formula E used a range of different styles and this keeps it more engaging and isn’t as confusing as many people think.

In short, the new format proved to be a success and it’s something that I wouldn’t be surprised to see in other series where the grid is so closely matched going forward.




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