Monaco qualifying must run as normal

Posted on May 12, 2010


The Formula One teams and drivers have got to stop complaining about qualifying in Monaco and instead start thinking about how to work around the issues in an open session.

Various suggestions have been made – and so far rejected – to split the session, give the slow cars a free run at the first five minutes or whatever. It’s important the FIA keep saying no and steps be made to ensure FOTA don’t gerrymander the session. There should be 24 cars running in a 20 minute Q1 session, the same as every other race weekend.

The latest to come out with concerns is McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh. He said: “We have to accept that there are six cars that are very, very, difficult to avoid.

“When you are trying to open a gap and you have cars behind you, you can not back off.

“For the slower cars they will do the lap staring in their mirror which I am sure is a distracting thing for them.

“Even if they see something in their mirrors, trying to respond to that will be very, very difficult, even if they are on a slow lap, never mind a fast lap.”

He went on to say he favoured splitting the session to ensure the quicker cars can get a fair crack at the circuit.

Rubbish. The best thing about Monaco is it’s the best test of the driver and not the machine on the Grand Prix calendar. Jenson Button won in Monaco last year because he was the quickest and most committed driver on every lap of every session all weekend. It wasn’t all about his Brawn car and he’s my favourite going into this weekend despite the McLaren lacking the out and out pace of the Red Bull, especially in qualifying.

Yes, overtaking is very difficult in Monaco and yes, if the quicker cars get out of position they are going to struggle. But to suggest the McLarens, Red Bulls and Ferraris of this world are somehow entitled to the front row of the grid defeats the object of going racing. Why not line up in Championship order on Sunday on that basis?

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