Daniel Ricciardo thinks only the final part of the new qualifying format needs to be changed, as the Red Bull driver admits Q3 in Melbourne was an “anti-climax”.
The much anticipated knockout system proved to be a flop at the Australian Grand Prix. The farce saw teams confused with the timing of the elimination clock, drivers being dropped out while they were still in their garages, and Lewis Hamilton securing pole position with over four minutes left in Q3.
While most drivers have already come out against the revised format, Ricciardo, who was the first driver knocked out of the final segment of qualifying, offers a slightly different opinion.
“From our point of view Q1 and Q2 seemed OK,” the Australian said. “Obviously I made it through so maybe that is why I am more positive about it. It seemed that the structure was… still exciting enough from a fan’s point of view, but Q3 was certainly an anticlimax.
“The more I think about it, how it ended, it didn’t really have a big finish. Normally qualifying, as those last few seconds counted down, the crowd is waiting and waiting, and the red light comes and everyone crosses the line, so it definitely looked like it lacked that.
“I got out, I was the last in Q3, and I got out of the car and I could see pretty much everybody else get out of the car. So it didn’t really make sense. There is a bit of an anticlimax for sure.”
After announcing the new elimination-style qualifying system late last month, F1 bosses came close to actually introducing a hybrid version of it that would have retained part of the old system. For Ricciardo, this would be the favoured option.
“If we were to go out now and re-qualify, from my point of view Q1 and Q2 seemed to work okay,” the 26-year-old added. “I would then run Q3 like last year.
“Whether it is eight or 10 cars, then at least you do your runs and if you got two new sets of tyres you put them on. At least everyone runs to the end. That part of quali was exciting last year, and for as long as it has been. Without analyzing it too much that is what I would say would be a good fix.”
Ricciardo's team principal Christian Horner was quick to apologise to the F1 fans, saying the revamped format needed to be tweaked immediately.