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Formula 1 Austrian GP

Alonso: "Miracle" Aston result shows F1 sprint rules need changing

Fernando Alonso wants the Formula 1 sprint format rules to change after he reckoned mixed conditions in Austria created an unlevel playing field to make Aston Martin’s result a “miracle”.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, leaves the garage

The two-time world champion will start the shortened Saturday afternoon race at the Red Bull Ring from seventh place on the grid, one spot ahead of his Silverstone team-mate Lance Stroll.

Alonso reckoned that one-lap result from the Aston Martin duo was “kind of a miracle” since an extra qualifying shootout for a sprint round and a drying session had exposed a flaw in the rules.

Ordinarily, drivers must use a new set of medium tyres in the SQ1 and SQ2 sessions before switching to set a of new or scrubbed softs for SQ3. But morning rain - despite the emergence of a dry line - left the session to be declared wet, which freed up tyre choice for teams.

In the 12-minute SQ1 session, drivers split between intermediate, medium and soft Pirelli compounds. But cooler conditions left the more responsive soft tyre as the preferred option.

However, drivers who had progressed into Q3 during the Friday qualifying session for the grand prix had already eaten into their soft-tyre allocation. They - including the Aston Martin pair – were subsequently left without the advantage of a fresh set of softs to contest SQ3 on Saturday.

Alonso reckons this left rival teams who underperformed on Friday with an unfair advantage, so he has called on the rulemakers to close this supposed hole in the regulations.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

He said: “I think to be in the top seven, top eight with both cars is kind of a miracle because with the rules as they are at the moment, we had old tyres to do today qualifying.

“So, I understand when it’s dry, we all have to use the mediums in Q1, mediums in Q2 and then whatever you have remaining in Q3.

“But with these conditions, obviously the regulations allow you to use any dry tyres. So, there is a big disadvantage for the guys that reached the top 10 yesterday because we used all our softs. So not very happy with the rules.

“Hopefully we improve the sprint format. This year is just a test to improve.”

Alonso added that Aston Martin, which is fighting Mercedes for second in the 2023 constructors’ championship, should not be left exposed to qualifying behind theoretically slower teams.

He continued: “Obviously, we are fighting for big things in the world championship so we should not be in this position to qualify today with old tyres if you did well yesterday and got into Q3.

“We should not be qualifying with different conditions than people that didn’t reach yesterday Q3. But anyway, the sprint race is later. Hopefully the same tyres for everyone. That will be more fun.”

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