There is a lot of jibber-jabber out there regarding the 107 Percent Qualifying Rule and whether or not the full grid will be able to achieve that in Melbourne.
The rules are clear on this matter. Article 36.1 of the FIA Sporting Regulations states that “during Q1, any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107% of the fastest time set during that session, or who fails to set a time, will not be allowed to take part in the race. Under exceptional circumstances however, which may include setting a suitable lap time in a free practice session, the stewards may permit the car to start the race. Should there be more than one driver accepted in this manner, the grid order will be determined by the stewards”.
Thus it is fair to say that the rule is discretionary, but designed to take out anyone who is deemed to be unfit to compete or a danger to others. The last test in Bahrain showed that the situation is not really dire. On the first day of the Bahrain test the fastest time was a 1m36.880s, which meant a 107 percent lap time of 1m43.661s. All the cars that completed more than 10 laps achieved this lap time. On Day Two the 107 percent time was 1m41.553s and that day the two cars that did not achieve that had both done less than 20 laps apiece. Day Three saw the limit reduce to 1m40.861s. The only man who did a sensible number of laps and did not make it was Marcus Ericsson, but he was doing long runs in his Caterham and not trying for qualifying lap times. On Day Four the 107 percent limit was 1m39.812s and once again anyone who did more than 20 laps managed to achieve that.
Given that there will be three practice sessions before the qualifying and the FIA Stewards have discretionary powers which includes laps set in these sessions, it is clear that the 107 percent rule is very unlikely to be troublesome in Australia.