DC: New qualifying is a farce
Briton David Coulthard has condemned Formula One's qualifying system as a farce after rain wrecked several drivers' chances at the Australian Grand Prix.

While the Scot's new Red Bull team benefited from the controversial aggregate format introduced this year, with each driver getting a single lap on Saturday and Sunday, he still did not like it.

"It totally benefited us, the quali system," said Coulthard, who qualified fifth and finished fourth in the season-opening race.

"But it's not really what we're here to see. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe you just want to see a race whatever happens. But it was kind of farcical.

Rain half way through Saturday's qualifying ruined the chances of several top drivers including Ferrari's world champion Michael Schumacher, who went out during a downpour while others enjoyed dry runs.

That made Sunday's session of little interest, with the gaps between drivers insurmountable, and had a major influence on what turned out to be a largely processional race.

"I just feel strongly about the quali thing that we shouldn't make it too much of a handicap sport," Coulthard added.

"It's like getting Chelsea to drop a couple of men from a few matches just because they're winning too much. It's not fair."

Unlucky Massa

The biggest loser at the weekend was Brazilian Felipe Massa, whose Sauber left the pit lane on slick tyres moments before the heavens opened.

He skidded around the circuit before giving up the struggle and failing to set a mark. With times aggregated to determine the starting grid, he had no chance of moving up the order in Sunday's session.

"Look at Massa. Poor guy. Slick tyres, rain. And that's his qualifying," Coulthard said.

"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 Scot, one of the most experienced drivers with more than a decade in the sport, said the solution was to ditch the controversial format whereby drivers each go out on their own for a single timed lap.

"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.

"I went to a MotoGP last year and in the last five minutes you were on edge because it was great, everyone's out there jockeying for position.

"I don't even think I got excited this morning going out to qualify," he said.

shares
comments
Analysis: F1 Looks Forward to Tough Title Fight
Previous article

Analysis: F1 Looks Forward to Tough Title Fight

Next article

Oz organisers say GP is safe

Oz organisers say GP is safe
Load comments
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax Plus

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Plus

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Surtees became an unappreciated Ferrari great Plus

How Surtees became an unappreciated Ferrari great

John Surtees and Enzo Ferrari parted ways amicably but could have achieved more together. On the weekend that Formula 1 makes its bow in Qatar, a country best-known for staging bike racing, NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls the career of the formidable ‘Big John’ - the first man to achieve success at the highest level on two and four wheels

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2021