F1 reveals experimental qualifying shake-up but drivers unsure of plans

F1 reveals experimental qualifying shake-up but drivers unsure of plans

Formula One will experiment with qualifying at two races this season, the first likely to be Imola in May, but double world champion Max Verstappen and other drivers see no need for change.

The plan is to restrict tyre choice for the Saturday session so the first phase of qualifying will be hard compound tyres only, the second mediums and the final top 10 shootout on the quickest softs.

Drivers currently have a free choice of tyre throughout F1 qualifying.

The move would reduce each driver's allocation to 11 sets of tyres from 13 for the weekend, reducing the number Pirelli make and transport.

The experiment has been confirmed by the governing FIA but the races have yet to be confirmed by Pirelli, although teams have flagged up Italy's Imola as the start of the European season.

“I hope it's not going to be cold in Imola, otherwise it's going to be quite tricky,” Red Bull's pole-sitter Verstappen told reporters at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

“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.”

Teammate Sergio Perez, second in qualifying on Saturday, agreed with the Dutch driver.

“We do not really need to change anything,” he said. “We'll see once we try it but I don't think there's a need to change something that is working well.”

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, third on the grid, also felt there was no need for any tweaks.

Additional reporting by Reuters.