'Avoid confusion': F1 boss calls for qualifying overhaul

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has called for a change to qualifying rules after Ferrari star Charles Leclerc won pole at the Monaco Gp, before his later crash meant nobody had a chance to beat his time. Pictures: Getty Images
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has called for a change to qualifying rules after Ferrari star Charles Leclerc won pole at the Monaco Gp, before his later crash meant nobody had a chance to beat his time. Pictures: Getty Images

Formula One should look into adopting an Indycar style rule for qualifying after polesitter Charles Leclerc's Q3 smash at Monaco denied his rivals a chance to beat his initial time.

The Ferrari star claimed pole after his first flying lap in Q3 wasn't able to be bettered thanks to his crash the second time around, which secured his place at the front of the grid.

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While none of the driver's denied a shot at improving on Leclerc's time suspected foul play, as had happened with Ferrari's Michael Schumacher back in 2006 or Mercedes' Nico Rosberg in 2014, the incident led some to questions whether the current qualifying rules are the most suitable for the sport.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was one of a number of prominent F1 voices to suggest F1 looks into Indycar style rules, where the polesitter will have their fastest lap deleted if they subsequently crash and deny their rivals a chance to improve their own times.

While a mechanical problem made the debate a moot point last Sunday and prevented Leclerc from even starting the grand prix, Wolff suggested F1 needed to 'avoid confusion' and seriously consider adopting the rule.

Asked about the controversy by motorsport.com, FIA race director Michael Masi said they would look into the rule as part of the general review of each of the 23 grands prix.

"Like everything when everything arises, the FIA, Formula 1 and the teams look at everything and consider it on its merits," Masi said. 

"Yes, I know the IndyCar rule, which is also a rule in a number of other FIA international series and domestic championships around the world.

"We'll look at it and, together with all of the key stakeholders, determine if it's suitable or not."

Masi also immediately ruled out any suggestion Leclerc had deliberately crashed his Ferrari to prevent rivals from beating his pole time at Monaco, a circuit notorious for being all but impossible to overtake at.

"Having looked it, looked at the data and also listening to the team communication, I don't think any driver would go out there to severely damage their car to that degree, in any circumstance, because of the consequences that may arise out of that," Masi said.

Verstappen, Hamilton F1 fight heats up

Lewis Hamilton says he won't be drawn into a "childish war of words" with Max Verstappen after the Red Bull driver's victory in the Monaco Grand Prix - but the tensions are clearly rising between the two favourites for the world title.

Verstappen's triumph on the streets of Monte Carlo on Sunday took him to the summit of the Formula One standings for the first time in his career after Hamilton, hampered by a poor Mercedes strategy call, finished a lacklustre seventh.

Red Bull also took charge of the constructors' championship.

In the build-up to the fifth round of their spellbinding title battle, Hamilton lit the touch paper in his rivalry with Verstappen by claiming the Dutchman has a lot to prove.

Max Verstappen celebrates victory at the Monaco Grand Prix. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Max Verstappen celebrates victory at the Monaco Grand Prix. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner then suggested Verstappen is getting under Hamilton's skin - and in the moments after dancing his way to victory on the sport's most famous streets, the new leader couldn't resist a barb.

"Actions always speak louder than words," he said, signing off from his winner's press conference. "That's a good lesson after this weekend.

"You only have to talk on the track and that is what I like. We as a team so far made the smallest mistakes. That's why we are ahead."

Responding to his rival, Hamilton said: "I am not playing mind games. It is interesting what Christian comes out with, but I couldn't care less. They did a great job this weekend and that's that.

"There are 17 races to go. I'm not going to say more. It's childish when you start getting into a war of words."

With AAP

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