Haas drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen admit they remain unsure about the Alternative Tyre Allocation (ATA) qualifying format that will be trialled again at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
The ATA configuration was introduced under the 2023 Formula 1 regulations as an experiment to reduce the number of tyres used at a single grand prix event.
During a dry qualifying session, the revised ruling mandates the drivers use the Hard tyre in Q1, the Medium tyre in Q2, and those who advance to Q3 will be provided the Soft tyre.
The alternate qualifying format was initially scheduled to be tested for the first time at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, but the abandonment of the event due to excessive flooding in the area saw its first outing come in Hungary before the summer break.
Ahead of the format being tested again this Saturday at Monza, Nico Hulkenberg says the push to make F1 more sustainable can’t come at the expense of the spectacle.
“It was the first time that we had the alternative tyre strategy in Budapest so I think we need to be open-minded to change, but we can’t compromise on entertainment and track running for the fans that come to see us,” Hulkenberg considered.
“I support the move to look at tires from a sustainability standpoint, but it needs to work practically to not restrict teams.”
Meanwhile, Haas team-mate Magnussen has suggested that a return to one-lap qualifying would be a better way to reduce the number of tyres used without compromising the amount of on-track running in practice.
“I don’t think it made a big difference in Hungary, other than a little bit less running in practice,” Magnussen said when asked about the ATA arrangement.
“I think a good way of reducing the number of tyres we use is probably to look at the qualifying format and look at doing a shoot-out, just one lap per driver, like back in the day. That would save four sets at least.”
Haas enter the Italian GP weekend – the home event for its engine supplier, Ferrari – eighth in the Constructors’ Championship on 11 points, four adrift of Williams in seventh.