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Alexander Albon

Albon voices support for radical qualifying change

Alexander Albon believes there are solutions to the issues seen in F1 qualifying, and has proposed his own fix, following pit-lane antics between Williams and Haas at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Albon China
To news overview © XPBimages

Alexander Albon has proposed introducing split-qualifying to F1, in a bid to prevent some of the gamesmanship seen during the grid-setting sessions.

F1 has long had a problem with questionable antics but one particular moment stole the spotlight in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Nico Hulkenberg was seen accelerating down the slow section of the pit-lane, earning himself a trip to the stewards, for which the Haas driver was given a reprimand. Albon, meanwhile, could be heard on team radio highlighting the incident.

“I said it to make sure he [Nico Hulkenberg] didn’t come out in front of me," the Williams driver told media including RacingNews365 after the session, before adding: “Normally, Kevin [Magnussen] and Nico [Hulkenberg] like to get their elbows out, so it was more just to keep them in check."

However, the 28-year-old did concede that such things will happen, given the other factors at play when trying to extract maximum performance over a single lap.

“It’s going to happen - it’s happening more and more. You know we’ve got this minimum delta time now and Suzuka and here [China], everyone’s running it to the minimum – trying to be just legal and being as slow as possible with these high deg[redation] tracks."

'Maybe that's a stupid idea'

Albon explained that getting optimal position in the pit-lane queue and then on track is a difficult balancing act between not waiting too long at the pit exit and not being too far back in the queue, saying the situation had become "a bit of a game" between the teams and drivers.

“It just creates a bit of a mess," he said. "But we’re okay. I don’t mind it because we’re [Williams are] kind of in the middle [of the pit lane], so we can be a bit selective when we come out.

“Obviously, for a top team, it’s a bigger issue – but they’ll be quick anyway, so it doesn’t matter," he joked.

The two-time podium finisher did propose a solution to the problem, identifying the number of cars as an issue, particularly at smaller circuits.

“I’ve always been keen on the idea of doing a split quali[fying]. Q1, two groups and we’d get rid of the Austria, Red Bull Ring issue," he replied when asked if a solution was possible, or if the pit-lane antics were a compromise for not having those issues occur on track.

“When the tracks are big enough, I don’t think we need it, like Silverstone or Spa, for example.

“You could make the Q1s shorter and everyone has like, I don’t know, the same time as Q2 and just go out and do it – but maybe not, maybe that’s a stupid idea."

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