F1 teams react to new qualifying format for Hungary and Italy races

F1 team principals responded the planned qualifying format change for Monza and the Hungaroring.

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Williams team principal James Vowles said he’s concerned the new ‘alternative tyre allocation’ qualifying format for the 2023 Hungarian and Italian Grand Prix will disadvantage the slower teams on the Formula 1 grid.

However, Vowles added he is approaching the shift with an open mind and said it could also mean fans see the cars on track for longer in qualifying.

The format was due to be tested at the cancelled Emilia Romagna GP, and will see teams limited to hard tyres in Q1, mediums in Q2 and soft rubber in Q3.

“The idea’s good, I’m not sure what it’s going to do,” Vowles said when asked by Total-Motorsport.com. “There’s always a little bit of concern where if you’re slightly on the slower side, is it going to be as easy to get the harder tyres to work or are we actually going to split the field out?

“We’re unsure of what the other circumstances will be, what will happen to the field spread. But the concept of trying it is exactly why we are doing it.”

What is the Alternative Tyre Allocation qualifying format?

Mario Isola | Pirelli

Teams will have two fewer tyre sets available to them on race weekends (11, down from the usual 13), and will be restricted to set compounds (hard-medium-soft) in each of the three sessions.

The approach has so far earned a lukewarm response from drivers including Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, who questioned the need for the change, but it’s part of F1’s quest for greater sustainability as the sport aims to be 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.

There will also be an informative contrast in the test between the slower, tighter Hungaroring and the high-speed straights of Monza.

However, both races will likely be hot races, which should alleviate Vowles‘ concerns somewhat, but won’t provide the test that the cooler Emilia Romagna GP would have.

Krack: open-mindedness is key

Aston Martin’s Mike Krack faces the Silverstone media at the 2023 British GP | Aston Martin F1 Team

Aston Martin boss Mike Krack also stressed the need for an open mind when considering the change.

“I think the key word here that James said is open-mindedness,” Krack added. “We need to try different things.

Stefano [Domenicali] also highlights this all the time and in this case, the idea behind it is less tyres, more sustainable, so we have to applaud that initiative.”

Meanwhile, Vowles added he expected there to be positive effects of the switch too.

“On that harder tyre in the first session, you’ll be able to not just get one lap out of it as is the case here at Silverstone on the soft tyre, but multiple laps,” Vowles said. “You’ll see more of the cars going around the track, more laps being completed, that’s positive for the sport.

“Will it make a bigger gap or make it more predictable? I’m not sure yet, which is exactly why we’re running it.”

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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