The theory that qualifying was more difficult following only a single practice session to prepare at the British Grand Prix has been slated by Alfa Romeo team principal Fred Vasseur.
For the first time in F1 history, the weekend format saw the introduction of a 100-kilometre sprint on Saturday afternoon, with qualifying shifted to Friday after first practice, and with parc fermé introduced at the beginning of Q1.
A number of teams and drivers bemoaned the problem of only having an hour of running to dial in the car and set it up for qualifying, followed by 17- and 52-lap races.
Asked how much harder qualifying was with only an hour to prepare, Vasseur replied: “This is bulls**t! Everybody had one session, Silverstone is not a new track, we have all done 7,000 laps at Silverstone.
“For sure, it is a bit difficult because you have to fix all the parameters for the race [earlier than normal]. It was the same for everybody and it is like this. It can’t be an excuse and it won’t be an excuse.”
Vasseur – “I don’t care about the format”
The inaugural sprint was introduced due to the willingness of teams, in particular, to engage with the theory and work to ensure it would be achievable on its first trial weekend.
On whether he enjoyed the change of format, Vasseur explained: “Enjoy is not the right word because I don’t care about the format, I am just there because I want to race and I want to do results.
“I don’t care about the format. It is always exciting… not exciting but good to have a good challenge. It was not too bad but we are all chasing the results, not chasing the format. You have to ask the question to the fans.”
The sprint format will run again across the Italian Grand Prix weekend at Monza, and a flyaway event later in the year once the calendar has been finalised.