Italian F4 forced to change format due to increased grid numbers

Organisers of Italian F4 have issued a report stating the weekend format will be moving away from the traditional three races per weekend. F1 Feeder Series provides short explainer of the format and the full reason as to why it has been implemented.

By Alexander Studenkov

Ahead of this weekend’s fifth round of the 2022 Italian F4 Championship at the Red Bull Ring, the organisers released a statement stating that, due to the high number of new entries, the traditional race format of three races per weekend will be replaced by a new race arrangement.

Reason for change

Every racetrack has a specified maximum for the number of cars that can participate in a race. Most famous perhaps is the limit of 26 cars at the Circuit de Monaco, where the short and narrow nature of the track means that it would simply become too crowded if more cars were racing on it at a given time.

The maximum circuit capacity varies from venue to venue, with the Red Bull Ring in the Austrian mountainside being able to provide a grid as large as 37 cars, the joint-lowest number of any track on this year’s calendar. Given that there are 40 entrants for this round however, the race format was forced to be modified.

The format

Following the practice sessions, which will be held in a normal manner, the drivers will be divided into two “series” (S) for qualifying, which will each last 20 minutes. S1 will receive priority, meaning that the driver fastest in S1 scores pole, first in S2 places second and so on, meaning that S1’s drivers are ordered into an oddly numbered position (1, 3, 5, 7…), whilst S2’s drivers are placed on an evenly numbered place (2, 4, 6, 8…).

At the conclusion of qualifying, this grid, made up from the two “series”, will be divided into three groups. Group A will house drivers that qualified first, fourth, seventh, tenth, and so forth, Group B will have the same formatting starting from second, fifth, etc., with Group C following that system by housing drivers in third, sixth and so on.

There will be three qualifying races, each 25 minutes and one lap long, with Race 1 holding Groups B and C, Race 2 housing Groups A and B and Race 3 being contested between Groups A and C. This means that every group will effectively miss one race, as each group races the others just once. The points format will remain the standard FIA points system, with no bonus points to the polesitter and the driver setting the fastest lap.

For the final race of the weekend, the points obtained in the qualifying races will be added up and drivers will be ordered accordingly, with the driver who has scored the most points starting from pole. In the case of drivers being equal in terms of points, their best finish in the qualifying races will be used as the tiebreaker. Points will be awarded normally, and only 36 drivers will be able to start the race, meaning that the four lowest-placed drivers of the weekend after Race 3 would be marked down as having failed to qualify.

Header photo credit: ACI Sport

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