Russell suggests new Monza qualifying format

Date published: September 5 2020

Monza-PA2

George Russell suggested that in the future Monza qualifying should see drivers leave the pits in Constructors’ Championship order.

Whilst the farcical scenes of Q3 in 2019 weren’t repeated, it got fairly close and even in FP3 Lewis Hamilton had a near miss as drivers slowed down and formed groups to pick up a tow down the main straight.

The FIA took no further action over that but in Q1 the tow train returned as drivers battled down into Turn 1, and Sebastian Vettel was the highest-profile loser as he recorded Ferrari’s first Q1 exit ever at Monza.

Ahead of him in that queue was Russell who was also left furious with his team, making it clear to them that they should be taking advantage of such situations, not placing themselves in the middle of them.

“We’re the slowest team on the grid even though we have had some incredible Saturdays,” Russell told Sky F1.

“But you need an extreme circumstance to give you that opportunity and today was one of those ridiculous circumstances, and yet we were absolutely in the thick of it.

“It was ridiculous. It all starts from where you are sent out of the pit lane but I’m not pointing fingers at everybody as we are all in the same boat.

“I don’t know why every single team sends their cars out at the exact same time because you know exactly what’s going to happen.”

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The current qualifying format, which was first used in 2006, has remained the most popular method for determining the grid ever since. An alternative system of drivers being eliminated one-by-one at timed intervals didn’t last long.

But there’s no denying that the current qualifying format is asking for major trouble at Monza.

So, Russell has an idea for how this situation can be rectified.

“Maybe we just need to stay in Constructors’ Championship order, that is when you are sent out of the pit lane and you leave in five second intervals after that,” he suggested.

“But like I say it’s very specific to the circumstances. Nobody wants to lead. I’m trying to fight my way through but nobody wants to be stuck behind a Williams because they will catch us up during a lap.

“So everyone is blocking from me and there’s going to be a crash. I guess it looked comical but it’s still very frustrating.”

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