Sainz offers ‘ghost car’ solution to F1’s growing dilemma

Carlos Sainz believes the boring nature of one-shot qualifying could be overcome with “ghost car” technology as F1 looks for ways to solve the growing issue of impeding.

The Ferrari driver was dropped three places on the grid for the Canadian Grand Prix after being found guilty of blocking Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, with the Frenchman suggesting Sainz should have been “banned” for the dangerous nature of his actions.

But traffic issues during qualifying has been a growing concern in recent years as drivers slow at the end of a lap to find space for their runs, often backing into those completing flying laps at a vastly greater speed.

The Red Bull Ring that plays host to this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix is notorious for its short track layout and therefore plays towards traffic becoming an issue, particularly in Q1, with the problem exacerbated by the undulating end to the lap, where cars arrive at Turn 9 blind over the brow of a hill.

Offering an idea to help overcome the issue, Sainz proposed a similar format to that used by F2 at Monaco, where cars are split into two groups to complete running.

“The short-term solution would to have Q1 as a split, 10 car, one from each team per qualifying group,” Sainz told media, including

“Then I think Q2 would improve quite a bit and Q3 is not a problem, so it would be only short tracks. In Q1, maybe divide each session by half with eight minutes for one group, eight minutes with another group.”

One-shot qualifying

Sainz’s compatriot Fernando Alonso floated the idea of reintroducing the one-shot qualifying format, where drivers take to the track one by one to complete a single flying lap.

The Ferrari driver agreed and added: “The long-term solution is maybe single-lap qualifying, that is something to maybe experiment with in Sprint weekends to try and see if it would work.

“I personally was a big fan of it because I do like that feeling of having the whole track for you and having the pressure to perform only in one lap.

“I think that would be really good fun for us, for our sponsors and everyone but maybe a bit boring for the TV, it depends on the technology, you have to animate a single lap, you could put a ghost car of the fastest lap.

“With the technology we have nowadays, something like that could be achievable with the mini-sectors and ghost cars, with that kind of stuff. We should look into it.”

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