F1 is set to trial a revised qualifying format at two Grand Prix weekends during the course of 2023, separate to the Sprint Qualifying rounds.
While Formula 1 will utilise the Sprint Qualifying format at six Grands Prix this year, with the first round to use it being the fourth round in Azerbaijan, a separate qualifying format is set to be trialled at a further two race weekends.
According to the 2023 FIA Sporting Regulations, a Revised Qualifying Format (RQF) can be explored, using up to two Grands Prix for the purpose of evaluation and whether the revisions are suitable for future championships.
The format, which will see drivers forced to use the hard compound in Q1, the medium compound in Q2, and the soft compound in Q3, is being evaluated to allow for a reduction in the amount of tyre sets being brought to a Grand Prix weekend.
Each car is currently given an allocation of 13 tyre sets – the format would allow this to be reduced to 11, with six sets for use in qualifying and five sets for practice and race use.
A Pirelli spokesperson confirmed to PlanetF1.com that the format is set to be used at two weekends this season, but the exact two rounds are yet to be officially confirmed.
Reports elsewhere suggest the first round has been chosen: the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.
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However, the mooted changes haven’t met with much approval from F1’s leading drivers, with Max Verstappen saying the experiment is unnecessary.
“I hope it’s not going to be cold in Imola, otherwise it’s going to be quite tricky,” he told media, including PlanetF1.com, in Bahrain on Saturday.
“But yeah, it’s the same for everyone but I don’t think we need to actually do these kinds of things in qualifying. I don’t really see the benefit of it. It’s better if we make sure that all the cars are close to each other and more competitive instead of spicing things up in that way, which I think is probably for the show.”
Charles Leclerc agreed with the two-time World Champion, saying: “I don’t feel there was a need for change for that but let’s try and see.”
Sergio Perez was as dismissive as his teammate, saying: “I think we don’t need that when you see the qualifying we had today, how close everything was. We do not really need to change anything. But we’ll see, we’ll see once we try it but I don’t think there’s a need to change something that is working well.”