Gascoyne Wary of Qualifying Changes

A return to low-fuel qualifying could lead to boring races, warns Toyota's technical director Mike Gascoyne

Gascoyne Wary of Qualifying Changes

Qualifying has changed four times in the last three years, with every new format coming under criticism of fans, TV broadcasters and drivers alike. Since 2002, drivers qualify on a single lap run, with the car fueled up for the race - which means some cars could be significantly lighter than others.

Another change in the qualifying format is set for next season, with many advocating a return to low-fuel sessions. However, while the single-lap qualifying has come under constant criticism, Gascoyne said that low-fuel runs could breed exciting qualifying but less exciting racing.

"Some of the proposals seem to be without fuel and that's good in some respects, because you get a very exciting shoot-out for pole position," Gascoyne said. "But it does mean that there are less strategy options in the race. So, F1 generally has to be very careful to make the right decision."

Gascoyne has further urged the Formula One rule makers to decide on the qualifying format for next season as soon as possible, stating that a delay could impede the team's progress in designing next season's car.

The teams are set to run V8 engines as of next year, which in turn will bring down fuel consumption - allowing designers to alter the fuel tank size. But Gascoyne said such design decisions were stalled due to the ambiguity of the procedures for next year's qualifying.

"Fuel consumption will go down and you've obviously got additional volume to put fuel in," Gascoyne explained, "but really it will depend on the qualifying regulations - whether you have to qualify with fuel or without fuel. That significantly alters your strategy on things like tank size.

"The later these things are decided the more difficult it becomes. At the moment it is still undecided."

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