Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen have criticised the introduction of a new tyre rule set to be trialled in qualifying sessions during the 2023 Formula 1 season.
In a move announced late last year, the FIA confirmed plans to test a revised qualifying format at two events this season that would restrict the tyre compounds that could be used in each segment.
Currently, every driver is free to choose any of the three compounds of tyres available at a grand prix weekend to set a lap time on throughout the qualifying hour.
However, under the amended proposal all the drivers would be required to run the hard tyre in the opening qualifying session, and the medium tyres if they progress into the second section, while those who make the pole position shootout will be able to utilise the gripper Soft compound tyre.
The move has been designed to cut costs as Pirelli will reduce the tyre sets it brings for each car on those specialised weekends by one down from the current number of 12.
With the first of these trial periods confirmed for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend in May, the top three from qualifying in Bahrain were asked for their thoughts on the alterations.
“I just think it’s for the show,” Perez considered. “I think we don’t need that. I don’t think it’s necessary, especially when you see how exciting qualifying was this Saturday in Bahrain.”
Perez’s stinging comments come after Q1 in Bahrain last Saturday witnessed the entire field be separated by only 1.1s.
Verstappen, who claimed pole position in Bahrain, has echoed the comments of his team-mate in branding the arrival of a change to the qualifying format as unnecessary.
“I don’t think we need to do this kind of thing in qualifying,” the reigning World Champion added. “I don’t really see the point in it.
“It’s better if we make sure the cars are closer together in terms of performance than if we want to make it more exciting in these kinds of ways. It’s just for show, I guess.”
Last season’s race weekend at Imola was blighted by rain and cold temperatures, with the final part of qualifying taking place in wet conditions.
Therefore, the FIA has already issued that if at any stage qualifying is declared wet “any specification of tyre may be used”.
But with conditions still likely to remain cold in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy during May, Verstappen has warned that the low temperatures may make tyre warm-up a struggle on the harder compounds.
“I hope it won’t be too cold in Imola, because then it will be very tricky,” he remarked. “But yes, it’s the same for everyone.”
Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc appeared to be more willing to give it a chance, despite also believing the current format doesn’t need to be tinkered with.
“I don’t feel there was a need for change for that, but let’s try and see,” the Ferrari racer said.