DRIV­ERS SLAM NEW QUAL­I­FY­ING

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - Pho­tos: Euan Cameron, LAT

For­mula 1 driv­ers held crunch talks with rule­mak­ers dur­ing test­ing at Barcelona last week to voice their con­cerns over the sport’s new qual­i­fy­ing sys­tem, which will make its de­but dur­ing the Aus­tralian Grand Prix later this month.

For this year F1 qual­i­fy­ing will be shaken up, with new rules mean­ing the slow­est driv­ers within a ses­sion will be elim­i­nated at 90sec­ond in­ter­vals, in­stead of on their fi­nal lap times at the end of the ses­sion.

MN re­ported last week that the new sys­tem would not be in­tro­duced un­til the Span­ish Grand Prix be­cause of con­cerns over pro­duc­ing the nec­es­sary soft­ware. But F1 rule­mak­ers have now con­firmed that it will be in place for Aus­tralia.

Un­der the new for­mat, the three qual­i­fy­ing seg­ments will re­main, but driv­ers will now be re­quired to stay on track in each ses­sion un­til they are knocked out. By the fi­nal 90 sec­onds of the last ses­sion just two driv­ers will still be on track to fight for pole.

The new for­mat has been crit­i­cised by many driv­ers for be­ing too com­pli­cated and 13 driv­ers met with F1 race di­rec­tor Char­lie Whiting in Barcelona to ex­press their con­cern, some­thing that was em­pha­sised by the rule­mak­ers re­main­ing un­de­cided over the fi­nal for­mat un­til late last week.

Mclaren’s Fer­nando Alonso (right) said: “I’m sad for the sport be­cause it doesn’t look right from the out­side when in one week we change the qual­i­fy­ing for­mat three times. I don’t think it’s right. There are too many changes, and the com­plex­ity of the rules for the spectators are quite high. I was not in the meet­ing, but it’s a unan­i­mous thing. We want rules sim­plic­ity.

“All of my friends here in Spain want to switch on the tele­vi­sion and watch bat­tles, big cars, big tyres, big noise and en­joy the race.”

Force In­dia’s Ser­gio Perez told Sky Sports News: “We’re not happy with the rules. Let’s see if they can change it. For the fans it’s very com­pli­cated. It’s com­pli­cated for us al­ready, so this just makes thing more com­pli­cated.we feel the qual­i­fy­ing at the mo­ment is re­ally good. I don’t think there’s a rea­son to change that.” Wil­liams team head Claire Wil­liams said the new for­mat must be tried be­fore it is crit­i­cised: “I’d like to get to Mel­bourne and see how it plays out and then com­ment on it. If it doesn’t work, then fine. We tried. All we are try­ing to do is make the sport more ex­cit­ing, which is what ev­ery­body wants.”

Cars will qual­ify with new rules in Aus­tralia

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