x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Qualifying format stays at Monaco GP

Qualifying for next weekend's Monaco Grand Prix will go ahead as scheduled despite calls for a change of format for safety reasons, Martin Whitmarsh, the McLaren boss, said.

Bruno Senna, HRT F1's Brazilian driver, thinks it is a good idea to have two qualifying sessions instead of one.
Bruno Senna, HRT F1's Brazilian driver, thinks it is a good idea to have two qualifying sessions instead of one.

Qualifying for next weekend's Monaco Grand Prix will go ahead as scheduled despite calls for a change of format for safety reasons, Martin Whitmarsh, the McLaren boss, said yesterday. "The decision is it will go ahead as it is," he said after a meeting of the Formula One Teams Association (Fota) at the Spanish Grand Prix failed to reach any agreement. "There are those who are concerned about the safety and the randomness of it," added the Fota chairman.

"The counter flip is that the sport needs a bit of a shake-up and if there are problems and issues in qualifying and that influences the grid then it means the teams will have to deal with that in the race and that's good for the show." Formula One has expanded to 12 teams this season and under the current format, all drivers take part in a first 20-minute qualifying session before the slowest seven drop out.

With some of the slowest cars way off the pace of the leaders, some drivers have suggested the first session should be split to reduce the number of cars on track at the same time. "It's not a bad idea to be honest if they take maybe six or eight cars from the group of the slowest cars and then the other guys go in a different qualifying session, it will probably be a good idea for both," Bruno Senna, the Brazilian rookie who drives for HRT-Cosworth, had suggested.

"We don't want someone much faster than us coming to overtake us, and they don't want to be every lap getting someone slower." Whitmarsh agreed the speed differential between some of the cars would make it a tricky session. He added: "They [the slower drivers] are going to spend the lap looking in their mirrors trying not to impede and get a penalty. It is a very confined tight and claustrophobic circuit in which you've got to try and tame a Formula One car."

* Reuters