Former Ferrari grand prix winner Jean Alesi thinks the flip-flopping on the qualifying format shows that Formula One can only work if the sport is run like a dictatorship.
Hastily devised two weeks before the Australian Grand Prix, the elimination-style system led to farcical scenes and triggered such a backlash that team bosses quickly agree to revert to the old format for the next race in Bahrain.
Instead of siding with the prevailing view that the knockout qualifying had to be canned, Alesi believes the rushed decision to go back to a more traditional format is further evidence that self-interest is currently plaguing F1’s decision making process.
“I, for one, thought the show [in qualifying] was fantastic,” Alesi said on French broadcaster Canal+. ”The only problem maybe was in Q3, but to shake everything up like they have done, I think that’s preposterous.
“I am a big fan of [F1 commercial rights chief] Bernie Ecclestone and even more of [FIA President] Jean Todt. They are trying to find solutions in order to make the show as riveting as the cars’ performance levels and unfortunately there are some team bosses… there is always someone unhappy and I think these are the people that are killing Formula One.
“Unfortunately, this is a sport that needs to function as a dictatorship. Some things were working years ago but they don’t anymore. Why? Because everyone can have their say and put their little interests first.”
Alesi’s F1 career stretched from 1989 to 2001, with the mercurial Frenchman of Italian origins racing for Tyrrell, Ferrari, Benetton, Sauber, Prost, and Jordan.
In 201 starts, the 51-year-old took one win, 32 podiums, and four pole positions. His son Giuliano was recently announced as part of the revamped Ferrari Driver Academy, as Alesi remains a very popular figure amongst Maranello fans.