Formula 1 ultra-veteran Fernando Alonso, now racing for Aston Martin, has delivered a blunt critique of the sport’s current three-part qualifying system. Reflecting on his championship-winning days with Renault, Alonso preferred the traditional 60-minute, 12-lap format, and even the one-by-one single-lap qualifying. However, he views the current ‘knockout’-style qualifying, introduced since then and apparently now a permanent fixture, as outdated and problematic.
Speaking at the 2023 season finale in Abu Dhabi, Alonso expressed his dissatisfaction with the way the qualifying session has evolved, particularly criticizing how it’s now heavily influenced by modern external factors like track limits, warm-up lap times, and slow-moving traffic. These issues have necessitated a series of supplementary rules, further complicating the process.
“This format of qualifying is obsolete,” Alonso stated, as quoted by the Spanish sports newspaper AS. “We cannot have this kind of stress. What used to be the best session of the weekend, when the cars are most alive, is now the worst session for everyone. Track limits, traffic, impeding, deleted laps, on and on. We are all happy when it is over now and it shouldn’t be like that.”