Sebastian Vettel leads drivers' criticism of F1 qualifying revamp

Formula 1 drivers have strongly criticised the new elimination qualifying format introduced for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel leads drivers' criticism of F1 qualifying revamp

The new knockout system involves drivers being eliminated at 90-second intervals during the second half of each qualifying segment.

While the opening parts of Q1 and Q2 were frantic, Q3 was a disappointment with only Mercedes choosing to do two runs and Lewis Hamilton confirmed on pole with several minutes of the session remaining.

Vettel was particularly scathing, saying F1's bosses should not be surprised by the criticism because the drivers had already voiced their concerns that it would not work.

"I don't see the point why everyone is surprised," said Vettel. "We all said what is going to happen. It happened.

"We were told to wait and see. Now we saw and I don't think it was very exciting.

"It was a bit crazy in the beginning with all the cars pushing and trying to do a lap before they get kicked out so managing traffic is busy but for no reason because the time is there in the session to do it.

"For the people in the grandstands, I don't feel it is right way to go as there are no cars to watch.

"They want to see Lewis, Nico, Kimi whoever pushing to limit at the end of the session when the track is supposed to be at its best.

"I don't think we need the criticism now, we had the criticism already but surely it is wrong way to go. That is what we said."

Hamilton felt F1 was right to experiment but that it was now clear the format was wrong.

"Ultimately it is a good step that we tried something new but it's trial and error," he said. "Maybe not just go back to the old way."

Vettel responded: "They have a certain responsibility as well, you can't just try things that many of us criticise, us included.

"You can't just turn around and say that was the wrong thing. We need to be sensible and do the right changes."

Nico Rosberg favours the compromise proposal of using the old system for Q3 only.

"It's good F1 tries [ideas] but we have to go back, for the last one [Q3] especially," he said.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso feels the new format favours the leading teams.

"The rules are a little bit unfair for the smaller or less competitive teams because we finished all our sets [of tyres] in Q1 and in Q2 you have one chance," he said.

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