FEBRUARY 26, 2003

Qualifying format finalized

The FIA has clarified the new one lap qualifying rules to be used throughout the 2003 season, which will kick off in Melbourne in a week and a half.

Each driver will line up in the fast lane of the pits no more than 5 minutes before he is scheduled for his run. When the preceding driver begins his flying lap, the pit exit light will turn green, allowing the next driver 30 seconds to join the track.

The 6th, 11th and 16th drivers will be shown the green light when the previous driver has returned to the pits, to allow for television commercial breaks.

After completing three laps, a car must stop in the FIA weighing area for technical checks, and will then be moved to the central parc ferme area.

There is no mention of the 107% rule in the new format. If a driver fails to record a time because he failed to leave the pits, stopped on course or was ruled to have interfered with another driver on course, he will start from the back of the grid.