Alonso blasts "obsolete" F1 qualifying despite Singapore rule tweak

Fernando Alonso believes the current Formula 1 qualifying format is “obsolete” and the only viable solution is a single-lap system.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

His comments follow the FIA modifying the shootout regulations especially for the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix.

In the Friday night drivers’ briefing, Autosport understands that the grid voted unanimously to scrap the usual maximum lap time procedure.

Normally, an upper time limit is imposed for an in- and out-lap in qualifying that drivers must respect or else be considered to have gone “unnecessarily slowly”.

But amid the feeling that, on this occasion, having to keep within this restriction would harm tyre preparation while believing there was space at the track to avoid traffic issues, the drivers pushed for this clause to be dropped.

However, at the end of Q1, there was still a scrap for track position - with Max Verstappen notably cleared of impeding Williams rookie Logan Sargeant on the grounds that there was nowhere for the Red Bull driver to go amid the congestion.

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso said this shows the whole three-stage qualifying format is no longer fit for purpose, it having first been introduced for 2006.

Claiming drivers will continue to make life difficult for the FIA by pushing the rules regardless, the two-time world champion reckoned: “It is difficult to handle, I think.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“Whatever [the FIA] do, we will find a way to sail that kind of rule.

“They have a very difficult job in terms of managing traffic on street circuits.”

Alonso therefore proposed a single-lap system - as used in 2003 - whereby cars run individually with only one shot at setting a time. The 42-year-old reckoned this was the only possible way forward.

The Spaniard continued: “I have said many times that there is only one way to find a solution which is single-lap qualifying.

“All the other solutions we can test but will never work because we will find a way.

“I think this qualifying format is obsolete. It has been the same for 20-25 years [sic], but the cars are not the same.

“We have hybrid engines, we have to charge [the battery], we have to cool the tyres, so the only way to go forward is one lap.”

McLaren driver Lando Norris clarified the drivers' efforts to change the lap time rules, saying: “Initially, the reasoning for having it was to limit approaching speed differences, especially in Monza.

“They said the reason for it was not to try and sort out traffic and overtaking but to sort out people going 10km/h when you go 300km/h into the last corner.

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“That's not a safety issue, that's just driving to find your own position. If you don't want this, you can go out five minutes earlier and get on with your lap and do it yourself.

“I think it was a good decision that they made, it was better for everyone.”

Additional reporting by Adam Cooper

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