F1 uses a qualifying system in order to determine the starting positions of the drivers before the race. Also, at certain tracks, a sprint race is used to determine the order.

I know that if Q3 cannot be held, then Q2 will be used to set the grid. My question is, what if all the sessions from FP1 until Q3 cannot be held due to weather conditions or other problems? How would the FIA determine the drivers' starting positions, and has this ever happened?

  • 2
    I can't find any regulations for it - but (for non-sprint weekends) the qualifying session will always tried to be completed - to the point where the qualifying has happened Sunday morning, a few hours before the race is scheduled to start (see USA GP 2015). So if the conditions are still not good enough to host qualifying on race-day, then it seems unlikely the race would happen at all. Although, saying that, we all know what happened in Spa 2021...
    – ImClarky
    Oct 6, 2022 at 9:33

1 Answer 1


Closest Rule

If none of the practice or qualifying sessions are held at all throughout the weekend, then the closest answer I found came from a couple of articles/posts mentioning an old version of the FIA's regulations (around 2016-2017, however I cannot find the exact regulations that cite this rule) [1] [2]. The rule states that the grid order would be set based on the driver's numbers. This would put Max Verstappen on pole position if this happened in 2022 as he carries the #1. This rule made sense in the past as driver numbers were based on the constructor's finishing position in the previous season (drivers for P1 constructor got numbers 1 and 2, P2 got numbers 3 and 4, etc.).


However, as @ImClarky mentioned in his comment, qualifying would be delayed until the latest time possible to allow the grid to be set, even if it's the same morning of the race before the race.

If none of the planned sessions (FP1/2/3 or Qualifications) can be held at all throughout the weekend (e.g., due to weather, an incident, external factors), then it is unlikely the race would go through. Realistically at least 1 of the planned sessions can be held, and in that case the times from those sessions would be used to set the grid, even if it's FP1.


  • "This would put Daniel Ricciardo on pole position if this happened in 2022!" -> I do think that Verstappen is using #1 this year. Nov 17, 2022 at 13:47
  • @PaulPalmpje Hahahah very true my bad, the list I consulted wasn't ordered and I forgot that someone was using #1 this year, still used to Verstappen being #33! Nov 17, 2022 at 13:56

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