Superpole is Fernando Alonso’s dream qualifying format

Published: 22 July 2021

► Alonso was a key player in Saturday’s sprint race
► But he prefers a one-lap qualifying system
► He finished seventh in Sunday's race

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso was one of the big winners of the British GP’s controversial, new sprint race format. Thanks to soft tyres and all the racecraft you’d expect from someone with Indy500, F1 and rally experience, the Spaniard started 11th, but had earned a grid spot of fifth just 30 minutes later. You can watch that lap below.

However, going into the weekend Alonso admitted his ideal qualifying format was a little different. Instead of the qualifying format, usually on Saturday and at the British GP on Friday, Alonso reflected on the old one-lap Superpole format used in 2003 and 2004 as his preferred method of setting the grid. Why? Because of the pressure, and jeopardy the single-lap format gave: 

‘You only had that opportunity, and you have to deliver in that single lap,’ Alonso said. ‘It was just one time, any lock-up, any track limits, any mistake, you put that on the lap. You start last.’ 

Rather than shaking things up, the Alpine driver also suggested that the current knock-out qualifying format promoted a more stable pecking order – whichever day it fell on.

‘Now, the current systems you have 18 minutes and you have multiple set of tires, and multiple runs so that eventually, the fastest car, they will always qualify at the front,’ he added.

‘There is no room for creativity or no room for any surprise. I prefer the single lap, only one chance.'

What do you think of the new qualifying format, and do you agree with Alonso’s views? Let us know in the comments.

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast