Several drivers expressed concern on Friday about abrupt mandatory qualifying tyre-choice rule changes ahead of opening practice at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
The changes, introduced as Alternative Tyre Allocation to improve the sport’s sustainability, require drivers to use hard compound tyres in the first qualifying session, mediums in the second and softs for the third.
Free choice is not allowed.
The new form was to be introduced at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in May, but it was cancelled due to flooding.
Defending double world champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull said the changes play to the strengths of the leading teams - not the objective claimed for the changes.
“I think it plays a bit more into the hands of the top teams because they normally get the mediums and hards to work a bit easier than most of the others,” he said.
Esteban Ocon of Alpine, winner of the Hungarian race in 2021, said the changes may lead to teams choosing to run less in qualifying, instead conserving their choice of compounds for the race.
“It’s not going in the right way because if FP2 (free practice 2) is wet, for example, we are going to see only ten laps in the day. It’s difficult. I think there’s going to be limited running on Friday because we have less tyres and in FP3 too. It’s the first time we’ve seen this.”
Charles Leclerc of Ferrari said it may lead to a few surprises before “things get back in the right order”.
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