Fernando Alonso has criticised the FIA for turning quali into the “worst session” of a Formula 1 weekend after he qualified P7 in Abu Dhabi.
The quali session saw a familiar sight of drivers queuing to get out of the pit lane and then struggling to find free air after numerous alterations to the session’s regulations.
The most recent addition by the FIA’s race stewards was to prevent drivers overtaking in the pit lane tunnel after Max Verstappen squeezed past in practice, adding another layer of complication for a driver.
Fernando Alonso bemoans state of F1 qualifying
Alonso has been in F1 on and off again since 2001 and over the course of that time has seen plenty of changes made to the quali format.
But he believes it is the worst since he joined with the new regime of the FIA proving to be very heavy handed when it came to sticking to the rules.
“Exits did not help or make things worse,” Alonso told media including PlanetF1.com. “It didn’t change much, but it proves that the qualifying format is obsolete.
“This session used to be the best session of the weekend where the cars, they come alive.
“You drive these very fast cars and now it’s the worst session of the weekend. For the teams, for drivers, for traffic management, for track limits.
“Going to the stewards, not respecting the delta, impeding people, deleting the laps. We are all happy that it’s over and it shouldn’t be like that.”
The FIA’s decision to be more strict came as a result of the actions at this venue two years ago when Michael Masi bent the regulations in the final phase of the season.
Under Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the FIA have stuck much closer to the letter of the law but it has not always been to the driver’s liking.
Alonso will try to recover from his P7 starting spot but admitted McLaren will beat them in a “normal race.”
“I think when you are in a group of cars and you are fighting the tyres, they seem to struggle a lot more than when you are in free air,” “But there is no free air with with the gaps that we have right now.
“We are all in the same timed laps so I think it’s going to be a very long race for us.
“Obviously, McLaren is the only target that we have. They are starting both of them in front of us so we need a little bit of chaos, if we want to overtake them. In a normal race, they will finish in front of us and that’s not good enough.”