A new qualifying format was scheduled to be tested at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in 2023. However, due to flooding in Italy, the race was cancelled led. The trial will now take place at another race. Let’s take a closer look at the changes and their potential impact on the F1 world.
There have been significant changes in the qualifying format, all related to tyre choice. The previous qualifying format allowed drivers and teams to choose tires of their choice in Saturday’s hour session. However, this has now changed. There are now restrictions on tyre choice for every qualifying session. Drivers and teams could now only use hard tyres in Q1, medium tyres in Q2 and soft tyres in Q3. This was termed an “’Alternative Tyre Allocation” trial.
However, if a wet session has been declared then the drivers and teams have the choice to use any tyre to ensure safety.
Why was this step taken?
This is a trial which could significantly impact the F1 World, but what was the main reason behind it? This step was taken by Pirelli in order to save tyres. The new qualifying format will impact tyre choice by reducing the number of dry tyre sets available to each car for the weekend from 13 to 11.
This new Qualifying Format if approved will save 40 sets or 160 tyres in a single weekend. Not only this but if it was implemented in the whole season of 2023 then it would have saved 36,80 tyres.
You might be interested in: Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 Return: Can He Come Back In 2024?
What impact will this change have?
This new qualifying format can impact the Qualifying enormously as now many suggest that the Q1 could be just one long run with the hard tyre. But there still is a possibility of 2 medium tyres being used in Q2. While at least 2 soft tyres in Q3.
Free tyre choice is still allowed during wet qualifying sessions for safety reasons. For example, switching from intermediate tyres to hard tyres in Q1 would make it very difficult to warm up the tyres.
The new qualifying format could also potentially reduce the number of pit stops that drivers take during qualifying sessions. With mandatory tyre choices for each segment of qualifying, drivers may be able to better plan their tyre usage and reduce the need for additional pit stops. This could lead to more strategic decision-making.
Another main reason for these mandatory tyres during the new qualifying format is that it will provide more drama during qualifying as all drivers will be using the same tyres. This will provide an action-packed qualifying as there will be more drama with very little difference between drivers. And this makes it a little harder for drivers to finish on top with no tyre difference in the new qualifying format. And the skill test will become more tough and we can see more nail-biting qualifiers.
What the drivers had to say?
Although there has been little comment from drivers about the trial, Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez, and Charles Leclerc offered their opinions on the change after the season’s opening qualifying session in Bahrain.
Verstappen expressed his opinion on the matter, stating that he doesn’t see the benefit of doing these kinds of things in qualifying. He believes it would be better to ensure that all cars are close to each other and more competitive, rather than spicing things up for the show.
Perez also questioned the need for tweaks, stating that he believes it’s just for the show. He pointed out how close the qualifying was in Bahrain, with only 0.292s covering the top three, and suggested that such tweaks may not be necessary. He stated that there is no need to change something that is already working well. He stated that they will see once they try it, but he doesn’t believe there is a need for change.
Leclerc also expressed his opinion on the matter, stating that he doesn’t feel there was a need for change. However, he is open to trying it and seeing the results.