The McLaren driver feels the changes to qualifying hand a greater advantage to the teams with the most competitive cars as it forces the slower teams to use more sets of their softer tyres.
“Perhaps we need to give the new qualifying system a bit more time,” said Alonso. “However, I believe it favours the strongest teams and is a bit unfair towards the less competitive teams.”
“Because we’d used two sets of super-softs in Q1 – where I finished third – we only had one chance to run in Q2. On my first run I felt competitive, I was tenth, running under the same conditions and on the same rubber as everyone else. I was only 1.2s off the Mercedes, which was a nice surprise, but then I had to sit in the garage and watch how quali developed, which was a bit sad.”
“Of course, the top teams don’t need to use both sets of super-soft tyres in Q1, so the onus is on us to get back to being a top team again, and only use up one set of [super-softs] in Q1.”
Alonso contrasted F1’s qualifying with the one used by Moto GP. “Maybe we should do what Moto GP did in qualifying last year – where the less competitive teams could use softer tyres in qualifying. In Formula One, we’ve chosen to do the opposite.”
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said he was “saddened” by the lack of spectacle in the new qualifying format.
2016 F1 season
- Which was F1’s best down-to-the-wire title fight?
- Are tickets too dear? Crowds fell at some tracks in 2016
- F1’s TV audience decline stopped in 2016
- Brawn among key F1 hires announced by Liberty
- Has F1 hit ‘peak penalties’? Fewer sanctions in 2016