New qualifying attracts criticism

New qualifying attracts criticism

The new qualifying format of one session on Saturday and one on Sunday, along with aggregate times, is already being criticized. Saturday's session was practically spilt in two due to rain, which gave the front runners a big advantage over those...

The new qualifying format of one session on Saturday and one on Sunday, along with aggregate times, is already being criticized. Saturday's session was practically spilt in two due to rain, which gave the front runners a big advantage over those who had to go out on wet tyres.

David Coulthard.
Photo by Red Bull Racing.

Red Bull's David Coulthard was one who missed the downpour but even though it played into his hands, he thinks the new system is not very good. "It totally benefited us, but it's not really what we're here to see. It was kind of farcical," said the Scot, who lined up fifth on the grid for the start of the Australian Grand Prix.

Sauber's Felipe Massa was the first victim of the rain on Saturday, caught out on dry tyres. The Brazilian couldn't complete his lap in the bad conditions. "Look at Massa," Coulthard remarked. "Poor guy. Slick tyres, rain. And that's his qualifying."

"All the work and effort, his career, the team and the sponsors -- all of that goes up in smoke because he gets rain. There is so much more at stake than just a sporting spectacle. There's people's livelihoods.

The single flying lap format has never been terribly popular and Coulthard would like to see qualifying revert back to all the cars on track at the same time. "This whole one lap thing spaced out over an hour is the problem," he said. "It should be one hour, four laps and you've got to do a lap in every 15 minutes, with all the cars out there."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis thinks the new format doesn't show a true representation of which teams are competitive. "It's just a bit frustrating," he said. "As always it is the same for everybody, except that when you've got these quirky qualifying rules, and with the weather we've had, it heavily distorts the outcome."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Felipe Massa
Teams Red Bull Racing , Sauber , McLaren