So, the new F1 season started in spectacular fashion yesterday, although it’s left me with a couple of things to think about
Qualifying didn’t really work, obviously. There was probably a similar amount of action in total, but it was all shifted to the start of the session, leaving the empty track when the chequered flag fell. This can happen quite easily with the old qualifying in certain circumstances, e.g. incoming rain, but there was definitely the impression that this would probably be the case for all of the sessions.
Part of this might just be down to how teams decided to play it and might’ve ended up being different in later sessions, but they made the right decision to get rid of it because it would have upset a lot of people having a few more sessions like that..
It’s a format I could well see working though, with a few tweaks:
1) Do it all in one big session. I’m not sure why they felt the need to keep it in three sessions in this new format. One long session would mean those likely to finish at the front can actually save tyres for when they need to do their runs and it will keep a constant level of pressure on everyone trying to stay out of the drop zone. The track does speed up, so most people would go for another run
2) 10 minutes before the first elimination. There wasn’t another time for the bottom drivers to get a second run in and I think that was a huge shame.
3) Stop it when you get to top 5. The system falls down a bit again towards the end, as all of the top runners will do a run when number 4 or 5 will be eliminated and then be done with it. 5 is a sensible number to have a final shoot-out with. Maybe even have it one-lap/formula e style, with each driver going out in turn, although I know the one-lap qualifying style went out of fashion in the 00s a bit…
I’ve said so much about qualifying, I don’t feel like I should say too much about the race now, so just a couple of quick things.
Ferrari had a very promising start. More starts like that and we could have a lot of good races this season
The wreckage of Alonso’s crash looks far far worse than the crash itself.
Ferrari threw away a victory for Vettel and I don’t know anyone who thought they were making the correct decision, even at the time.