The sport’s chiefs attempted to tidy up the grid penalty rules last winter following growing annoyance at the raft of engine and gearbox penalties being handed out.
For this year, rather than the slots at the back of the grid being decided by the number of penalties each driver is given, it is settled by the order that new elements are first used on track.
That led to a bizarre situation ahead of first practice for the Russian Grand Prix when five drivers lined up from 20 minutes before the session started.
Lando Norris, driving in Fernando Alonso’s car, was at the front of the queue so grabbed 16th spot for his teammate, while Hartley was last out so will start 20th.
“In my opinion it it is a bit of a strange rule,” said the Toro Rosso driver. “I know last year they had these number of places, which was also strange, but it is kind of strange that we are all racing each other out in FP1. I think there may be a better way.
“I think it would be better to take the qualifying position and then add the penalty.
“It means qualifying is for absolutely nothing for us, which is a bit of a shame. It would be better if we got to challenge for those last five places and had a fight.”
Hartley said that his Toro Rosso team had been surprised by how early that McLaren elected to get Norris out to secure the front spot on the grid.
“They [McLaren] obviously did a good job to go 20 minutes before the green light, which is for sure the earliest we have seen,” he said.
“We didn’t know they were going to have a penalty and they definitely did a good job to go first. It means Fernando will start 16th versus me starting 20th, so definitely they did a good job to do that.
“We were planning to go at 15 minutes, but they went five minutes earlier.”