New F1 qualifying format set for Hungary and Italy races

F1 was set to trial the adjusted format at the 2023 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

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Formula 1 has rescheduled its planned ‘alternative tyre allocation’ qualifying format for the 2023 Italian and Hungarian GPs.

It was planned to be trialled at the Emilia Romagna GP earlier in the season, before that was cancelled due to heavy flooding in the region.

The format is meant to reduce tyre usage by teams as F1 pushes to become more environmentally friendly.

How does Alternative Tyre Allocation work?

George Russell after qualifying in pole position for 2022 Hungary Grand Prix | Mercedes F1 Team

Currently teams are given 13 sets of tyres for race weekends and hand two sets back after each practice session, meaning they have seven sets available for for qualifying and the race.

However, under the new format teams will only have 11 sets for the weekend and each qualifying session will have designated compounds.

In Q1 drivers will use hard tyres, Q2 is restricted to medium tyres and softs can only be used in Q3.

In wet conditions, these restrictions are lifted and teams can use whatever compound they want to.

It’s part of F1‘s drive for a smaller environmental impact, in line with their goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

The format will save 320 tyres across the grid between the two races in 2023, and would save 3,680 tyres if implemented across the whole season.

F1‘s choice of Monza and the Hungaroring as test venues is an interesting one, and will provide a look at the impact of the format.

The Hungaroring is one of the tightest and trickiest tracks on the calendar while Monza is renowned as the cathedral of speed, so will provide contrasting results for F1 to chew over.

However, both weekends are likely to be warm compared to the cool April Emilia Romagna GP – and worries about tyre temperature on the hards was a key concern for drivers ahead of its planned Imola trial.

What do the drivers think?

Max Verstappen looks on ahead of the Austrian GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

So far it’s been a lukewarm (at best) response from drivers. Asked about it at the Bahrain GP, Charles Leclerc questioned whether there was any need for the change and Sergio Perez thought it was ‘for the show’.

And Max Verstappen was similarly unimpressed: “I don’t think we need to actually do these kinds of things in qualifying,” he told Sky Sports F1. “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.”

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