Fernando Alonso calls for sprint changes after having ‘big disadvantage’ in shootout

Henry Valantine
Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin garage.

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso looks pensive in the garage.

Fernando Alonso claimed he had a “big disadvantage” during the sprint shootout on Saturday, having had to qualify on used tyres in Austria.

The Aston Martin driver arrived on Saturday without any new soft tyres available to use, having used them all in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix on Friday.

Sprint shootout rules dictate that medium tyres are the mandatory compound in the first two sessions, SQ1 and SQ2, while softs are mandatory for SQ3 – but this requirement was removed when the track was declared wet on Saturday morning.

Fernando Alonso bemoans dry tyre rule changes in sprint shootout

With the shootout beginning with some drivers taking to the track on intermediate tyres, the removal of mandatory dry compounds meant that most of the grid took the opportunity to run on soft tyres in SQ1 and SQ2 to try and make their way through to the final part of the sprint shootout.

While Max Verstappen had two new sets available to him to qualify fastest by almost half a second on Saturday, Alonso and others looked to qualify on used tyres instead or, in some cases, on new mediums.

Alonso and Aston Martin team-mate Lance Stroll locked out the fourth row for the sprint on Saturday afternoon, but the two-time World Champion believes even that was something of an achievement in itself, given he feels not having new tyres was hampering him throughout the session.

Given this is the first year of the sprint shootout in its current format, Alonso hopes to see further changes made moving forward.

“I think [qualifying in] the top eight with both cars is kind of a miracle because with the rules as they are at the moment, we only had old tyres to do qualifying,” Alonso told reporters after the sprint shootout.

“So I understand when it’s dry we all have to use the mediums in Q1, mediums in Q2, and then whatever you have remaining in Q3.

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“But when it’s these conditions, obviously the regulations allow to use any dry tyres, so there is a big disadvantage for the guys that reached the top 10 yesterday because we used all our sets.

“So yeah, not very happy with the rules and hopefully we improve the sprint format.

“I think this year is just a test to improve, but obviously we are fighting for big things in the World Championship so we should not be in this position in qualifying today with old tyres if you did well yesterday going to Q3.”

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