DRIVERS SLAM NEW QUALIFYING
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