FORMULA ONE bosses have confirmed a new qualifying for 2023 – but reigning world champion Max Verstappen has been left unhappy with the changes.
Fans can expect Saturdays to run differently on two occasions this season as the usual method is shaken up.
Verstappen enjoyed a comfortable win in the opening race of the 2023 season
Normally qualifying sees teams have a free choice of tyre compound – soft, medium or hard – as they look to set the fastest lap times possible across three sessions to set the grid for the Grand Prix.
But in the new trial teams will have to run the hard tyre in the first qualifying session, the medium tyre in the second qualifying session and the soft tyre in the third qualifying session.
It is not clear how this might affect the usual order but it is possible some teams may excel or struggle on certain tyre compounds on certain tracks, potentially leading to some surprise scenarios in qualifying.
It is not confirmed when the new system will be trialled but it is speculated that the first race weekend when fans will see it will be at Imola in May.
Two-times world champion Verstappen – who began the new campaign in dominant fashion yesterday – is not a fan.
The 25-year-old said: “I hope it’s not going to be cold in Imola, otherwise it’s going to be quite tricky.
“It’s the same for everyone but I don’t think we need to actually do these kinds of things in qualifying. 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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Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, 33, was in agreement.
He said: “We do not really need to change anything. We’ll see once we try it but I don’t think there’s a need to change something that is working well.”
This is far from the first time F1 bosses have introduced new concepts to try and improve race weekends.
Among the more successful are the Saturday sprint races, which divide fans but have seen exciting track action across the last few seasons.
Other ideas have fallen apart almost immediately.
The decision to award double points in the final race of 2014 was met with widespread derision, while a new elimination qualifying format in 2016 was binned after only one session.