New qualifying format could lead to "boring" Q3, Perez warns

Force India driver Sergio Perez has warned that the changes to Formula 1's qualifying format could create a lull in the last seconds of the final Q3 session.

F1's new knockout elimination-style format will make its debut this weekend in Melbourne, introduced with the aim to create more uncertainty in the grid order for the grands prix.

However, Perez suggested that an unintentional consequence of the new rules could be a lack of cars in the closing stages of Q3 as teams rush to get a lap in early on to avoid elimination.

"I think, in Q3, you're gonna have the last three minutes probably a bit more boring than in the past, because people are pushed to go early," Perez said.

"For example, for us, if we're into Q3, we're gonna be just with a single set of tyres so we'll have to go early. We will not have the usual stuff from the past, when you used to see two or three cars right at the last minute.

"I hope [it doesn't happen], but I think you're gonna lose a bit of that in Q3, which was the most interesting session for the fans."

Traffic chaos

Perez, however, conceded that the new format could shake up the earlier sessions, forcing a large number of cars to share the track in the opening minutes.

He said: "Q1, it can be probably a bit more interesting in terms of traffic, because people will be rushing to put a lap together in the first seven minutes.

"And Monaco will be very interesting, the first seven minutes, with all the cars out there."

"I think the stewards are gonna be a bit more busy in qualifying," he added.

Changing the "most exciting part of the weekend"

Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson, meanwhile, said the previous qualifying format had made for some of the most entertaining Formula 1 action in the recent years - and reckoned it didn't need altering.

"On the qualifying, I feel a bit that we've changed something that was not broken," the Swede said. "I think the qualifying was already very exciting, both for me as a driver and the team and the fans -the qualifying has been the most exciting part of the weekend the last couple of years.

"And, yeah, I'm not convinced it's an improvement, the change they've done to the qualifying.

"But again, even though I'm sounding a bit negative, we have to keep an open mind and see how it works out when we actually do the thing."

Not in favour

Neither Perez, nor Ericsson are "in favour" of the new qualifying format, although both admit they could change their minds after seeing how it plays out on track.

"We really have to wait to see how it goes," Perez said. "At the moment, I am not in favour of it. I think qualifying was good in the past - but let's wait and see.

"Let's try to be, all of us, a bit more positive with the new format, try to get used to it and see how it goes. But, as I say, at the moment, I'm not in favour of that new system."

Ericsson said: "In theory, I think it's not as good, the new qualifying format, but maybe when we get out on track and everyone is out there, it does create some excitement, I don't know.

"But just looking at it and discussing it with the team and going through how we assimilate what qualifying would look like, I don't think it'll bring anything."

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Sergio Perez , Marcus Ericsson
Teams Force India , Sauber
Article type Breaking news