Max Verstappen criticises plans for F1 qualifying overhaul

F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying

Red Bull's Max Verstappen has hit out at F1 owners Liberty Media for their attempted shake-up of qualifying rules.

The 21-year-old expressed frustration at the proposals, that could see four rounds, with three eliminating four cars at a time, before an eight-vehicle shootout for pole position.

The plan would add a further qualifying round, with the current system using three sessions, with the final one creating a ranking of the top 10 starters on the grid.

Verstappen was critical of the possible format revision, arguing that qualifying was becoming too similar to racing itself.

"I would keep it like it is," Verstappen said. "Otherwise you are running so much it's just more and more practice.

''I think qualifying should be a shorter session where you don't have that many opportunities to do a lap otherwise what's qualifying for? It's just another practice session where everybody can get into a rhythm.

"What I always understood in qualifying is that you have to go out, have a few shots at it and that's it.

"But if you start to do more and more and more everybody at one point starts to do a good lap."

Despite these concerns over extending the Saturday training circuit, F1 organisers have claimed that the new system will boost competition, as an extra round will increase the possibility of the 'Big Three' drivers being eliminated early and starting out of position.


The flaws of the current method were exposed at the Russian Grand Prix, where Renault decided against setting any time in the second qualifying period, in order to be able to use a certain tyre type, as F1 rules state there can be no change of tyre between the second and third rounds. 

F1 race director Charlie Whiting confirmed that the organisation was looking into tyre requirements and allowances for the possible qualifying shake-up.

The suggested changes are not the first time that F1 has tinkered with the area, having previously implemented radical changes to qualifying in 2016, where a 1-by-1 elimination system was trialed.

The new process was pulled just two races into the new season, after a comical qualifying session at the Australian Grand Prix.

F1 Grand Prix of Japan

Perhaps somewhat understandably, therefore, four-time champion Sebastian Vettel is skeptical of another shift.

''I'm just wondering what we will discuss in 10 years' time, whether we will talk about Q9 and Q10?

"Probably not but maybe we should go less. Without going too deep, my personal opinion is nowadays we need too much entertainment to be happy.''

Indeed, it is believed that F1 bosses launched their overhaul with the aim of increasing the Saturday action for fans.

The move further highlights the highly-commercial focus of Liberty Media's approach to managing the industry, since taking over from Bernie Ecclestone in 2016.

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