Fernando Alonso believes the rule whereby the top 10 runners from qualifying start on their Q2 tyres skews the balance unfairly towards the faster cars on the grid.
Front-running teams Mercedes and Red Bull often try to get through the second qualifying session on the medium tyres of the weekend, to ensure they are able to go further into the race before stopping, which Alonso feels gives them an unfair advantage by having more flexibility on strategy – coupled with their innate pace advantage.
Tyre compounds for the Austrian Grand Prix have gone one step softer than last weekend’s race at the Red Bull Ring. With the majority of cars using the hard tyre during the race, that compound will no longer be available and the mediums from Styria will become the new hard tyre.
With that, Alonso feels that two-stop strategies will be more common as a result – but the fastest cars will still be able to take advantage of the situation to their benefit.
“It’s going to be a challenge to do one [pit] stop,” Alonso told reporters in Austria. “If you start with a C5 [Pirelli’s softest tyre compound], maybe it’s more difficult.
“The fast cars have the luxury to avoid that tyre and in the midfield we don’t have that luxury.
“That’s the bad thing about the rules. They try to invent one rule that could benefit the show, and they just benefit the big teams.”
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Alpine boss Laurent Rossi said recently that he feels Alonso has been finding his “consistency” again now that he has returned to Formula 1, with the two-time World Champion out-performing Esteban Ocon for the past two races.
After another points finish for Alpine, P9 in Styria, the Spaniard feels that was the peak of their performance on a track that doesn’t suit the A521 as well as at recent venues.
“I don’t think that Austria is our best circuit,” Alonso admitted.
“Unfortunately we have two races here, so we have to manage the damage that we can have in terms of points. I think we’ve done it very well in race one, because we did score one more point than AlphaTauri, and two less than Aston Martin. So we managed to limit this damage.
“But in race two I think it’s going to be another challenging weekend. We’ll try to do better, but it’s going to be difficult. I think this is our limit.”