Fernando Alonso proposes qualifying tweak following Singapore mess

Thomas Maher
Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso on track at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso on track at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso believes a change to the current qualifying format is needed in order to ensure situations of excessive traffic don’t occur.

With no upper or lower time limit put on the laps drivers had to put in on their in and out laps for Singapore qualifying, it resulted in a messy end to the sessions as drivers circulated slowly while trying to generate some clear space for themselves on track.

With Singapore’s lap shortened to just over 90 seconds, the belief was there that there was sufficient space on track for everyone to find clear air, only for the drivers to gather in clusters in the final sector as they geared up to start their flying laps.

Fernando Alonso proposes single-lap qualifying situation

Alonso, as F1’s eldest statesman, was around for F1’s previous use of single-lap qualifying, and the 42-year-old believes that a return to the format would be welcomed.

“It is difficult to handle, I think,” Alonso told Motorsport.com about the qualifying format and what unfolded in Singapore.

“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 and things like that.

“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.”

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With the current qualifying format introduced in 2006, the Spaniard believes the big changes in the cars and how they are prepared for flying laps, compared to their ’06 counterparts, means the system needs change.

“I think this qualifying format is obsolete,” he said.

“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.”

Lando Norris: Lap time requirement removal was a good idea

Speaking about the drivers’ briefing on Friday, in which agreement was reached not to have a mandatory laptime requirement for in and out-laps, Lando Norris explained why the change had been made for Singapore.

“Initially, the reasoning for having it was to limit approaching speed differences, especially in Monza,” he said.

“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.

“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.”

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