Martin Brundle reveals ‘fear’ of damaging consequence from controversial qualifying format

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen (Red Bull) leads Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

Max Verstappen (Red Bull) leads Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

Martin Brundle has warned the ATA system deployed in Hungary could favour the big teams as strategy choices are cut down.

Pirelli and F1 are trialling a new tyre allocation and qualifying format in Budapest with a view of cutting the number of tyres given to a driver from 13 down to 11.

With that, they have also reworked qualifying with drivers required to complete Q1 on hards, Q2 on mediums and Q3 on the traditional qualifying tyre, the softs.

But Brundle is not a fan, recognising that sustainability is important but that dictating which tyres must be used and when may end up favouring the bigger teams.

“Of course, we’ve got to look at sustainability,” he said on Sky Sports F1. “As Toto [Wolff] said after FP3, it doesn’t move the dial very much.

“So many wets and intermediates that never get used on the flyaway races get dismounted and torn to pieces so we could look somewhere else first.

“I don’t really like messing around with qualifying. People understand it. It’s a great format. It’s worked since 2006, it’s a really clear process.

“So I’m of the school of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

“I fear that it plays into the hands of the fast cars because nobody has to look over their shoulders with a fast midfielder throwing a set of soft tyres on unexpectedly.”

Brundle was not alone in his criticism of the new format with Lewis Hamilton suggesting after Friday’s running it robbed fans of seeing cars on track. The seven-time World Champion also made a point of asking the sport to focus on wet and intermediate tyres.

“I only had one tyre so not really a great format this change they made for this weekend,” Hamilton said.

“It just means we get less running so not ideal. There’s a lot of wet tyres I think they throw away after the weekend, like a lot. Maybe they should look into something like that rather than taking time and lap time or time on track away from the fans.”

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