The F1 teams and management were unable to come to an agreement on a change in the qualifying format in Monaco this weekend that would prevent traffic from being a major issue. There has been a lot of hand-wringing over just what affect 24 cars will have in 20 minutes to set a fast lap.
With criticism and concern coming from the top teams and drivers, it’s no wonder that there is some anxiety in the paddock. According to AUTOSPORT, Lotus Racing driver and veteran Jarno Trulli has lashed out at the complainers with a warning:
“I will be very upset if someone after qualifying comes and starts complaining,” Trulli told AUTOSPORT.
“They have had plenty of time among the teams about what to do for here, and they didn’t come up with a solution. So I don’t think anyone should start complaining now.”
Trulli figures there is no room for complaining. The teams had ample time to arrange a new or altered format in which to prevent traffic issues from hampering the top teams bid for pole position.
Considering that the top teams need only one hot lap to secure their place into Q2, Trulli feels there is little room to complain. If memory serves correctly, it was Trulli’s boss, Tony Fernandes, who was adamant that they not change the qualifying format in favor of the standard program and coverage.
This decision was met with some criticism from none other than 7-time champion Michael Schumacher:
“Some team bosses felt they would rather have the chaos and maybe take the profit from this than to have a reasonable, clean qualifying,” Schumacher said. “So that’s what it is, that’s what we have to deal with, and let’s see who has to suffer or not.”
Clearly Schumacher feels this decision was made for financial reasons and there is little doubt that Lotus Racing boss Fernandes is quite the entrepreneur who sees most events and opportunities as a branding gambit.
Trulli makes a good case and as we have seen many times before, the top teams wait until the waning moments of qualifying and then attempt a hot lap only to be scuppered by traffic. Putting in a “banker” lap to insure you have your path to Q2 only seems prudent–especially at Monaco.
Do you think they should have modified the qualifying procedure for Monaco? Is that fair to the new teams or is it more fair to remove the dramatically slower cars so the proper teams can get on with it?
It does bring up the notion that the FIA may have opted for quantity instead of quality and as we have discussed here, HRT is apparently in some serious need of help from FOM’s Bernie Ecclestone just to remain on the grid for the rest of the season.