Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

F1 News: Q1 qualifying session needs to be split into two groups

(GMM) Fernando Alonso has issued a scathing assessment about Formula 1’s three-part current qualifying format, especially Q1.

When the Aston Martin driver won his titles for Renault almost two decades ago, the sport had moved from a traditional 60-minute, 12-lap format to one-by-one single-lap qualifying.

Both were formats that Alonso, now 42, enjoyed, but he now thinks that with the way Formula 1 has evolved since the current ‘knockout’-style qualifying was introduced, the format has become totally “obsolete”.

In Abu Dhabi for the 2023 season finale, he said qualifying is now excessively affected by track limits, minimum times for warm-up laps, and slow-moving traffic requiring a new flow of subsidiary rules.

[Editor’s Note: This is mainly an issue with Q1 when all the cars are on the track at once. Q1 should be split into two groups of 10, two groups of 11 once the Andretti-Cadillac team is added, with the slowest three eliminated from each group. IndyCar does it this way, and it works perfectly.]

“This format of qualifying is obsolete,” Alonso is quoted by the Spanish sports newspaper AS. “We cannot have this kind of stress.

“What used to be the best session of the weekend, when the cars are most alive, is now the worst session for everyone,” he insisted.

“Track limits, traffic, impeding, deleted laps, on and on. We are all happy when it is over now, and it shouldn’t be like that.”

Alonso’s idea of single car qualifying is horrible for the following reasons:

  • The last cars out get an advantage of more rubber laid down
  • During night qualifying, the last cars out get an advantage of cooler track temps
  • If it rains part way through qualifying, those yet to qualify are totally screwed.
  • If it rains before qualifying, but then stops, those qualifying first will have the wettest track and are totally screwed
  • If the current qualifying format is too stressful for old man Alonso, perhaps it is time to retire and tend to his garden
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