Fernando Alonso Calls for Overhaul of F1 Qualifying Format after Singapore Grand Prix Traffic Woes
Fernando Alonso, a two-time World Champion in Formula 1, has expressed his concerns about the current qualifying format, deeming it ‘obsolete.’ His call for change comes in the wake of traffic-related incidents during the Singapore Grand Prix qualifying segment.
Traffic management has become a persistent issue, particularly during the Q1 session at street circuits. Drivers tend to hang back, attempting to create a gap between themselves and the car in front.
However, this approach often leads to slow-moving situations, potentially endangering the drivers.
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F1 Qualifying Format: What Happened in Singapore?
During the recent qualifying session at Marina Bay, stewards noted multiple instances of impeding as cars queued up around the final sequence of corners. Stewards cleared Max Verstappen of impeding Logan Sargeant, but the incidents raised concerns about the existing qualifying system’s efficacy.
Formula 1 has employed the current three-stage knockout format since 2006, with one-lap qualifying having been used in different forms from 2002 to 2005. However, Alonso believes that the elimination-based format has become outdated, especially considering the advancements in Grand Prix car technology.
“All the other solutions that we can test will never work because we will find a way around it.”
He continued “This qualifying format is obsolete and has been the same for 20-25 years (knockout qualifying was introduced 17 years ago in 2006), and the cars are not the same as back then.
“Now we have hybrid engines we have to charge, we have to cool the tires, so the only way to go forward is a single lap quali session.”
Alonso’s call for a shift to a single-lap qualifying format reflects the need for innovative solutions to address traffic management issues, especially at street circuits, where creating safe gaps between cars has become increasingly challenging. The debate surrounding the evolution of Formula 1’s qualifying format is likely to intensify as the sport continues to evolve with technological advancements.
F1 Qualifying Format: The difficulty with Fernando Alonso’s Suggestion
Although Fernando Alonso’s suggestion has merit and could work, it also comes wrapped in difficulties, as follows.
The Track Improves Through the Session
Presently the timing of qualifying runs is managed by the team’s strategy experts. By ordering the runs one at a time this control will be taken away from the teams.
As the cars race around the track two things happen.
- The rubber from tires collects in the surface and so improves the cars grip.
- The track temperature heats up improving traction.
This means that the drivers who qualify at the end of the session will have an unfair advantage over those at the beginning.
F1 Qualifying Format Weather Conditions Change
If the weather conditions change through the session, it will give an unfair advantage to drivers who drove in worse conditions.