It is everyone’s responsibility to stop blocking in Austria F1 Qualifying

Pierre Gasly believes that the Formula 1 teams, drivers and engineers all share the responsibility to ensure that qualifying sessions for this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix are not affected by traffic and the ban.

The Red Bull Ring is the fifth shortest lap on the 2023 calendar at 2.68 miles. However, its high-speed nature means that it is likely to produce the fastest time in a dry session.

Max Verstappen achieved pole position on the circuit last season with a time of 1 minute 04.984 seconds. His second fastest race was 1m10.342s in Zandvoort.

In previous years, this resulted in congestion on the outdoor courses as drivers looked for fresh air on their atmospheric courses. Meanwhile, the drivers were found guilty of obstruction by the stewards in the previous two races.

With the Austrian Grand Prix weekend containing two qualifying sessions by virtue of it being the second running race under the revised formula, the issue of the ban is likely to come to the fore.

Gasly, the Alpine driver, who was penalized for a tackle in Spain but then was stopped by Carlos Sainz last time in Canada, said everyone had a role to play in ensuring handicaps were kept to a minimum.

He said: “It’s always tough. In Canada that got really hampered and it had a very big impact on the racing weekend in general. As a driver you always try to do your best.

“There are some tracks that are very easy to control in traffic, others that are more difficult. Montreal is one of those hard tracks, Austria is going to be bad.

“I think on this particular track everyone as a team – from the drivers and the engineers to everyone who can help and support us inside the car to do better – has to be at their best because it’s such a short track. Everyone’s trying to get in gaps.”

Pierre Gasly, Alpine F1 Team, at the drivers press conference

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Pictures

Gasly added that the effect that could have when a lap was compromised through bans, or the stewards penalizing the drivers, meant that a busy qualifying session often had entire weekends disrupted.

He continued, “You don’t want to derail anyone and affect (others). Sometimes it leads to a punishing whole weekend.

“It’s not just about qualifying but from the moment you start 17th from the back of the grid it just changes your whole racing philosophy. It’s going to be tough.

“We hope everyone can manage it in the best way possible.”

Formula 1 drivers are scheduled to meet FIA representatives on Thursday evening. Grand Prix Drivers Association President George Russell considered that clarity and consistency in the application of the rules would be addressed.

Meanwhile, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso has led calls for F1 to consider swapping the short-term format for shorter layouts by dividing the 20 Q1 cars into groups by junior series in Monaco.

The two-time world champion added that, in the long term, the championship should consider returning a one-car, one-lap qualifying shootout to provide a better exposure for teams and sponsors.

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