F1 drivers reject experimental Imola qualifying

Qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix was one of the most competitive yet, with only 1.276s separating pole and P9.

Max Verstappen took pole position during qualifying for the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix, with the Dutchman getting off to the best possible start as he looks to win his third drivers’ championship title in a row.

The session as a whole was one of the most competitive qualifyings in recent years, with under a second separating the entire grid in Q1.

Q3 was still phenomenally close, with only 1.276s separating Max Verstappen and the Alpine of Esteban Ocon set the slowest lap time of the final qualifying round.

Despite the competitive qualifying, it has been rumoured that F1 intend to trial a different format for the sessions at Imola in a couple of months’ time.

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This new format will see the drivers’ tyre allocation for a race weekend drop from 13 to 11 sets.

It will also see drivers forced to use the hards in Q1, mediums in Q2 and softs in Q3, completely shaking up the current qualifying format which allows drivers to use whatever tyres they choose.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez has quickly rejected the idea of this new format, suggesting that qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix proves that no change is needed.

“I just think it’s for the show,” said the Mexican.

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“I think we don’t need that when you see the qualifying we had today, with how close everything was.”

Perez’s teammate and pole sitter in Bahrain Max Verstappen agrees with this idea, explaining that he is also against F1’s latest idea.

“It’s the same for everyone but I don’t think we actually need to do these kinds of things,” he said.

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“I hope it’s not cold in Imola also, otherwise it’s going to be quite tricky.”

F1’s recent introduction of sprint races has also not gone down well with many drivers, who believe that many of the sport’s recent ideas are simply just for the show.

Should the rumoured Imola test be successful, F1 reportedly intent to trial this new qualifying format at a second Grand Prix this season.