The Canadian Grand Prix saw several handicap investigations, with Carlos Sainz receiving a grid penalty for running into Pierre Gasly’s path at the end of the lap. The main issues tend to occur with all 20 cars on track in Q1 in shorter places, and Fernando Alonso believes that a return to single-lap qualifying could also lead to mixed grids.
“It’s a topic every weekend, especially on short circuits,” said Alonso. “There are a few options to improve on this. The first is one-lap qualifying like in the past. That would be perfect in my opinion because there is only one car on track and full TV coverage of that lap for everybody’s sponsors and things like that, and that created a little bit of drama in If the weather changes during qualifying, you can see different cars in pole position, different names.So I guess that’s my favorite option.
“You can split the grid like they do in the small formulas in Monaco and things like that, but that’s a topic for now.”
Sainz agreed with Alonso, although he believes that if a faster solution is needed then splitting Q1 into two equal groups would be the way to go.
“I think the shorter-term solution is to divide the first quarter into 10 cars, one from each team – the qualifying groups,” said Sainz. “Then I think in Q2 the track has already improved a little bit, Q3 is not a problem. So it will only be for the shorter tracks, split the session (Q1) in half and do eight minutes with one group. If you are in another group it won’t affect you anyway because Car Performance Divided This is a short-term solution.
“Maybe one-lap qualifying is something to try as well maybe on fast weekends to try if it works. Personally I was a big fan of it because I like the feeling that I have the whole track for you and the pressure to only do one turn. That would be it.” Really fun for us and our sponsors and everyone. Maybe it’s going to be a little boring for TV, but I don’t know.
“It depends on the technology you also have to get that one lap moving. If you put a ‘ghost car’ out of the fastest lap, I think with the technology we have nowadays something like that could be achieved with the small segments, with the ghost cars, with the kind of things. I think we should look into it.”
However, Max Verstappen was against the idea of qualifying on a single lap, stating that it would lead to unfair track conditions with those running potentially having higher levels of control.
“It’s very cool but there’s also a twist in the track, so I’m not sure it’s the best idea,” said Verstappen. “There is always traffic but this is Formula 1 too, you just have to try to manage it. Some tracks are of course a little better than others, but they are tough.”
Nico Hulkenberg believes the traffic problem is caused by specific teams and the way they handle the busiest sessions of qualifying.
“Some tracks are more difficult than others, but I also feel that some teams and drivers are better than others and pay more attention and others less,” said Hulkenberg. “Some create situations more than others. Personally, I like how our qualifiers are – I think it’s nice to watch, it’s a lot of fun from inside the car, so I’m very happy.”