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Etiquette for letting faster cars pass in qualifying

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Etiquette for letting faster cars pass in qualifying

Old 11-08-2022, 03:58 AM
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Default Etiquette for letting faster cars pass in qualifying

Curious to hear what people think of the following scenario in qualifying:

Let's say car 1 is the fastest car in terms of lap times/pace and starts first in the current heat. However, the driver makes a mistake early on, allowing car 2 to pass while marshals get to work. After a lap or two, car 1 is back at the tail of car 2, with several minutes still to go in that heat. Obviously, because car 1 is much faster, even with the mistake, they could end up setting a much faster qualifying time than car 2 but that requires passing car 2 as soon as possible to be able to run at their faster pace.

The following questions come to mind:
  • Should the driver of car 1 wait for car 2 to crash?
  • Is the driver of car 2 supposed/encouraged to let car 1 pass (I usually do, as I find it too stressful to try and defend my position against a much faster driver, eventually forcing me into a mistake)?
  • Is it acceptable for car 2 to actually fight for position in a qualifying heat even if it does not make sense in terms of their own qualifying result? (The EFRA points system may motivate a fight for position even in qualifying though, especially if there only a single heat/group for the class the two cars race in.)
  • If car 2 is defending their track position on purpose, is it OK for driver 1 to take the risk and try to overtake car 2 just as it would be in a final or should driver 1 be more careful?
Of course, the story, characters, and incidents mentioned are fictitious.
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Old 11-08-2022, 04:23 AM
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In this scenario, car 2 is ahead on the clock. I don't think they're required to move aside, but if they think trying to defend the position is going to result in a slower time, it's a good idea to let them pass. It's absolutely acceptable if they want to defend though.

It's also ok for car 1 to attempt to overtake, but they should yield the position if they take out car 2, as per final racing etiquette.
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Old 11-08-2022, 04:23 AM
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As both people only race the clock in qualifying and not actually for position on track, there should be more than enough opportunities for car #2 to let car #1 pass without losing too much (if any), time, especially if car #1 is so much quicker as you describe in your example- But this has been discussed on here before, and will undoubtedly be again. You will always find people who either don't get the difference between qualifying and racing, don't know how to let someone pass safely without losing a ton of time or who are so ultra-competitive and aggressive by nature, that they simply cannot bear ever seeing someone pass them and will fight for "position" every time (even getting lapped for like the 5th time).
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Old 11-08-2022, 06:39 AM
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Exactly. Etiquette is not a rule. You can say all you want in qualifying a slower car should let a faster car pass, but there's no rule about it. Some people will follow etiquette, some won't. You as a racer have to figure out who's who and change your race strategy accordingly
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Old 11-08-2022, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by DirkW
As both people only race the clock in qualifying and not actually for position on track, there should be more than enough opportunities for car #2 to let car #1 pass without losing too much (if any), time, especially if car #1 is so much quicker as you describe in your example- But this has been discussed on here before, and will undoubtedly be again. You will always find people who either don't get the difference between qualifying and racing, don't know how to let someone pass safely without losing a ton of time or who are so ultra-competitive and aggressive by nature, that they simply cannot bear ever seeing someone pass them and will fight for "position" every time (even getting lapped for like the 5th time).
But in this scenario they actually ARE racing each other. Driver #2 now has the chance to out qualify driver 1#. If driver #2 is ahead on the clock he has every right to defend. Should he simply move over giving up the better qualifying position?
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Old 11-08-2022, 08:51 AM
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IMO in a race against the clock, people should not interfere with other people's "race". I know it's not against the rules, but slowing your opponent down is not in the spirit of the rules. But some people try to squeeze any advantage they can, especially if they see no other chance.
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Old 11-08-2022, 08:56 AM
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Most drivers that are that fast will find a way around a slow car within a few laps. I personally will race for position unless I am lap traffic then I will get out of the way as soon as I can find a reasonable place to get out of the way.
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Old 11-08-2022, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Poor_Boy
Most drivers that are that fast will find a way around a slow car within a few laps. I personally will race for position unless I am lap traffic then I will get out of the way as soon as I can find a reasonable place to get out of the way.
But "within a few laps" could mean losing another 5 to 10 seconds.
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Old 11-08-2022, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by rc10since1993
But "within a few laps" could mean losing another 5 to 10 seconds.
If you are 5 to 10 seconds off in a few laps a faster driver will go around you like you are parked. I guess it all depends on how equal the field is. A "faster" drive I would race has a fast lap 0.1 to 0.2 seconds faster then me. If I was off the pace by 0.5 or more I would let them by ASAP.

If someone if significantly off the pace they likely don't have the skill to get out of the way and might be better to hold the line and let the fast driver find the way around.
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Old 11-08-2022, 09:45 AM
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Qualify is trying to run as fast as possible. Trying to block a faster guy will make you slow, let him pass and try to keep on.

And yes, with a qualify everyone started his own time and is running their own race. There is no real driver position on the track so no use to fight for position. Even when he is behind you in time he can be in front of you.
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Old 11-08-2022, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Roelof
Qualify is trying to run as fast as possible. Trying to block a faster guy will make you slow, let him pass and try to keep on.

And yes, with a qualify everyone started his own time and is running their own race. There is no real driver position on the track so no use to fight for position. Even when he is behind you in time he can be in front of you.
The scenario that the OP posted explicitly states that the car physically in front is also in front on the clock. You're not really "racing the clock", you're trying to get a better time than your opponents. Yielding will not only give this particular opponent an advantage, you're disadvantaging yourself against every other opponent as yielding costs time. If this car really is that much faster than you, it'll get around you without you having to yield. If you're intentionally blocking, that's a bit different, and you will slow yourself down if they really are that much faster than you. But you can just run your own lines and they'll make a pass.

You should yield to cars ahead of you on the clock. If a faster car is behind you on the clock, they've made a mistake and it's on them to own the loss in time.
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Old 11-08-2022, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by gigaplex
The scenario that the OP posted explicitly states that the car physically in front is also in front on the clock. You're not really "racing the clock",
Maybe I overlooked it but I do not read anything about running the same clock time.
To me it looks like the person is overlooking the fact that in a qualify everyone is running their own clock.
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Old 11-09-2022, 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Roelof
Maybe I overlooked it but I do not read anything about running the same clock time.
To me it looks like the person is overlooking the fact that in a qualify everyone is running their own clock.
To clarify: the scenario is indeed such that if car 2 finishes ahead of car 1, they will also have set a faster time (because they started the other way around, each on their own clock). Hence, it is different from the situation where car 1 starts behind car 2 due to random seeding or a previous slow run and then catches up to car 2. In that case, car 1 would be ahead of car 2 in terms of qualifying time and car 2 should (not sure if there is an actual rule to enforce this) therefore let car 1 pass.
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Last edited by rc10since1993; 11-09-2022 at 02:23 AM.
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Old 11-09-2022, 03:26 AM
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Simple (where I race at clubs in the UK at least), you let a faster car through in qualifying, that is the rule at 99%+ of meetings I've been to. Irrelevant if they crashed and ended up behind on the track then caught back up. You only need to go 2ft wide to let them through, lose a tenth at most. Obviously if you're in a sequence of tight corners then they will have to wait a bit but no excuse for not letting them past for a lap or more, really annoys me when that happens and it might lead to a love tap to wake them up..... (flame away)
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Last edited by dlruk; 11-09-2022 at 03:27 AM. Reason: edit
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Old 11-09-2022, 03:55 AM
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Originally Posted by rc10since1993
To clarify: the scenario is indeed such that if car 2 finishes ahead of car 1, they will also have set a faster time (because they started the other way around, each on their own clock). Hence, it is different from the situation where car 1 starts behind car 2 due to random seeding or a previous slow run and then catches up to car 2. In that case, car 1 would be ahead of car 2 in terms of qualifying time and car 2 should (not sure if there is an actual rule to enforce this) therefore let car 1 pass.
I do not know if you watch F1 but during qualify blocking a guy on a fast lap will result in a heavy talk with the stewards. So no, in qualify you are not racing for position but sepparatly driving an own time, blocking will ruin the other his time and as I did mention, you will not drive faster either so it has no use. For sure when there are more qualifying rounds making your blocking totally undone if he has free space on the track in another qualify.
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