Fisichella: New Qualifying to Hurt Renault

Italian Giancarlo Fisichella believes the new qualifying system will hurt the Renault team when it comes into play next weekend

Fisichella: New Qualifying to Hurt Renault

The controversial Sunday session has been axed, and qualifying for the European Grand Prix will take place on Saturday over a one-hour session, involving a single timed lap.

Races so far this season have adopted an aggregate format with the grid decided by the times from Saturday and Sunday.

"From a competitive point of view, I think we may be penalised slightly with this system," said Fisichella.

"The other system favoured the teams that had a strong car and were able to show its performance in both sessions - we have a good car with the R25, so the two-part format definitely helped us in the opening races.

"Overall though, I do not have any problems with the change - it is very similar to how we did qualifying last year, so it is not a step into the unknown for anybody."

Fisichella's teammate and Championship leader Fernando Alonso welcomed the change, as it will allow the grid to be known by Saturday, but the Spaniard is aware that a retirement in the previous race will hurt the drivers, who will be forced to complete their flying laps early.

"I think there are pros and cons to the new system," said Alonso.

"It is good to know the qualifying positions from Saturday onwards, so that is definitely an improvement, but on the other hand, we have to rely on the previous race position for our starting slot - which means you will be punished for a bad result with an early qualifying position at the next race.

"Having said that, it just means you need to be consistent in your race performances - which is what we aim for anyway. The main point is that the system is the same for everybody, so as long as it is fair, I am happy."

Renault's Executive Director of Engineering Pay Symonds also welcomed the change as a sensible solution.

"I think this single session is a sensible compromise for the rest of the season," said Symonds.

"Certainly, the public was confused with the aggregate system, and knowing the qualifying result is much better for the media too - the Sunday papers, and television broadcasts, will be able to give fans a meaningful judgement of what is going to happen in the race that afternoon.

"In terms of race strategy, the change in format will not mean strategies alter radically, just because we are effectively going back to last year's qualifying format does not mean we will suddenly be using strategies similar to those from 2004.

"The behaviour of the single-race tyres has been the main factor in how race strategies have evolved for this season, and I don't anticipate significant change from what we have seen in the opening races."

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