Dennis Critical of Qualifying System

McLaren team chief Ron Dennis has again hit out at the qualifying system, whereby anyone who retires from a race has their subsequent race compromised by having to go out first in Saturday qualifying, with the inherent disadvantage of a slippery track surface

Dennis Critical of Qualifying System

Dennis feels that it is patently unfair that Kimi Raikkonen, after taking pole and leading in Imola, then suffering a car failure over which he had no control, then inherits an additional problem in Barcelona.

Raikkonen is third after the first qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix but ran wide on a slippery surface in Turn 2 during his flying lap.

Without that, Dennis says, he would have been fastest by a significant margin.

"The penalty of failing to finish a race is pretty severe in itself," Dennis said. "Taking it forward to the next race as well is simply too severe. Yes, our car broke at Imola but the driver should not be penalised. He inherits the problem of a failed car and that is not right.

"Kimi's lap today was sensational and the fact that he made a small mistake was immaterial. He deserved to be on provisional pole.

"When the initial discussions about the shape of qualifying were held, several teams objected to the order of qualifying and we were one. There has been a lot of discussion about improving qualifying but before we change it again, we have to get it right.

"The problem is that this season, most further changes would be influenced by fuel tank capacity."

This arises because the 2005 tyre regulations, that require the rubber to last the entire race, mean that it is almost always advantageous to run as long a stint as possible before refuelling. In the past, the advantage of a light fuel load was sometimes offset by the benefits of new rubber.

"If qualifying is held with empty tanks and then you put in fuel, anyone with a high capacity tank will have an advantage, it's as simple as that," Dennis said.

Despite McLaren's feelings about qualifying, the team conceded that the aggregated sessions will still give Raikkonen the potential to attack the Barcelona pole in Sunday's session.

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