Fernando Alonso’s Vision for a New Qualifying Format in Formula 1: The Need for One-Lap Qualifying

2023-09-18 11:18:00
Fernando Alonso during his arrival at the Singapore circuit (Archyde.com).

The Singapore GP brought to light several somewhat out-of-the-way issues. The first of them is that Sainz has the soul of a champion. He managed to put an end to Red Bull’s hegemony following a brilliant career in which he dominated from start to finish. “From the first to the last lap he has had total control over the race,” said Ferrari boss Vasseur. The second issue is that it will never rain to everyone’s liking. Formula 1 continues to constantly change and evolve. Look for new formats with which to attract the largest possible audience.

Proof of this is the new sprint race that this season will be held in a total of six grands prix or the changes in the classification, forcing the installation of hard tires in Q1, medium tires in Q2 and soft tires in Q3. Precisely in this session, the one on Saturdays, F1 has found in Fernando Alonso one of its biggest retractors. “The classification format is obsolete. It’s been the same for 20 or 25 years, but the cars are no longer the same. We have hybrid engines, we have to charge them, we have to cool the tires… So, the only way to do it is one lap. There are problems when it comes to managing traffic on urban circuits and I have said it many times, there is only one solution: one-lap qualifying. We can try the rest of the solutions, but they will never work,” explained the Asturian.

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Alonso’s comments come following the FIA ​​modified the classification regulations, especially in Singapore. The drivers had a meeting with the FIA ​​on Friday in which everyone unanimously voted to discard the usual maximum lap time procedure. This would mean the end of the existing time limit for an in and out lap in qualifying.

However, many believe that staying within this restriction would impair tire preparation, while also causing traffic problems. For this reason, Fernando has been clear and forceful. He proposes returning to the one-lap system used in 2003, in which cars lap individually on the track with only one opportunity to set a time.

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With the first qualifying session in Singapore coming to an end, there were still several open fights. Sargeant was looking for space to make a last attempt, when he ran into an obstacle called Max Verstappen. The Dutchman did not take any penalty for this, but he reflected the urgency to find solutions.

The Spaniard gave an exhibition in Singapore. He managed the race from start to finish with a final stretch in which his improvisation was champion. The Mercedes, with more pace, threatened the Spaniard’s victory, but they did not have a last-minute strategy. Sainz decided to let Norris hit him so that he had DRS and might defend himself from Russell’s attacks. “It has been brilliant. He said: ‘I want the ‘gap’ with Lando’, it was all cold blood. Few drivers would have done it,” said Gené, a Ferrari test driver, as surprised as the rest of the team.

“We had not talked regarding it, but he understood very quickly that his best defense was to protect Norris, it was great management of his. From the first to the last lap he has had total control over the race,” said Ferrari boss Vasseur. In the last three races, since returning from vacation, Sainz has added 50 points, 26 more than his teammate, whom he already leads in the World Championship with some comfort (142-123). If Red Bull, penalized in Singapore by the new FIA directive, continues to suffer in Suzuka, Ferrari can still fight for more victories in 2023. It will be under the current classification format, obsolete for Alonso, but valid for the FIA.

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