Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson believes that the new qualifying format introduced for the Australian Grand Prix will be of detriment to the smaller teams, as they will be forced to use more tyres to stay in qualifying.
Speaking exclusively to MotorsportM8 on Thursday, Ericsson predicted that the new qualifying format wouldn’t work, and suggested he would rather see the old format back because it wasn’t broken, and therefore didn’t need to be fixed.
“The smaller teams will have to throw on a lot more tyres in Q1 and Q2, so I think the new qualifying format is going to benefit the big teams,” Ericsson said.
“My feeling was that the old format was very good, I think it was very exciting to watch and it was exciting to participate in for both drivers and teams.”
The change to qualifying was meant to ensure more cars stayed on the track during each session, and while that may have happened at the beginning of Q1, teams at the back of the grid have to push extra and use more sets of tyres when they know they have little chance of making it to Q2.
“It was working well I think, one of the highlights of the weekend was qualifying. I feel like we’re trying to fix something that’s not broken, but still you need to keep an open mind,” Ericsson continued.
“My initial thought before we tried it on track was that it’s not an improvement.”
Ericsson finished qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix in 16th position, while his teammate Felipe Nasr wasn’t far behind in 17th.
It’s doubtful any changes will be made before the next race in Bahrain, although alterations to the format could possibly be introduced by Spain. A popular suggestion is to keep Q1 and Q2 in the new format, however, revert to the old format for the final session of qualifying.
Image via Sauber F1 Team