Formula One

Leclerc: New qualifying rule adds ‘jeopardy’ – not right for F1


Charles Leclerc fears that F1’s Alternative Tyre Allocation rule will add unnecessary “jeopardy” to the race weekend which he believes is not right for the sport.

F1 will conduct this weekend in Hungray the first of two ATA trials scheduled to take place this season.

The format, devised in collaboration with Pirelli to help the sport’s sustainability efforts, will see each driver receive 11 sets of tyres for the weekend instead of the normal number of 13 sets.

Drivers will therefore rely on 3 sets of Hards, 4 sets of Mediums, and 4 sets of Softs.

But for qualifying on Saturday afternoon, it will be mandatory for drivers to use Hards in Q1, Mediums in Q2 and Softs in Q3.

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Leclerc believes the allocation will be “tricky” to manage, not only in qualifying but across the whole race weekend.

“It’s going to be very tricky because also the free practice preparations are quite a lot mixed,” explained the Ferrari driver.

“I feel like we are going to see many different programs in FP1, FP2, FP3 along the grid because there are so many different options you can choose now with this new format.

“So we’ll see. It can be an opportunity, obviously, [or] if you take the wrong decisions then you can have a bad way for your weekend. But it’s part of the game.”

Leclerc also projected that using the hard rubber in Q1 will add another layer of difficulty to qualifying.

“I think Q1 and Q2 will be tricky also with different compounds,” he added. “It’s something that we are not really used to push on a hard tyre in a qualifying mode.

“So I think that will be quite new for everyone and this might be a surprise for a few people.”

Overall, the Monegasque fears that the ATA will introduce an element of unpredictability that may prove detrimental, at least until everyone gets to grips with the system.

“I don’t think, at least, that the jeopardy should be a part of the sport,” he said. “I think the best one should win.

“It might be a bit of an unknown for now, the more we do these formats I think more people will know how to expect and more things will come back into the right order.

“Maybe after qualifying we’ll know more about it. But it’s going to be very tricky with the amount of tyres we have.

“You obviously need to run those tyres at one point, maybe during free practice or not by choice. But this is why it makes things very unpredictable for now.”

Leclerc reckons the format could lead to less running in free practice .

“There are two approaches, we will either see much less running or the same amount but in very different conditions for everybody,” he speculated.

“You can either choose to do the high-fuel runs with a very old set or with a completely new set. This was less the case with the other formats where it was much more easy to anticipate what the others will do.”

Formula 1 will revert to its normal tyre allocation format at Spa next weekend, but the ATA will return for a second trial at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in early September.

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Leclerc: New qualifying rule adds ‘jeopardy’ – not right for F1

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