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New qualifying is a farce: Coulthard
Alan Baldwin | March 07, 2005 10:18 IST
Briton David Coulthard has condemned Formula One's qualifying system as a farce after rain wrecked several drivers' chances at the Australian Grand Prix.
While the Scot's new Red Bull team benefited from the controversial aggregate format introduced this year, with each driver getting a single lap on Saturday and Sunday, he still did not like it.
"It totally benefited us, the qualifying system," said Coulthard, who qualified fifth and finished fourth in the season-opening race.
"But it's not really what we're here to see. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe you just want to see a race whatever happens. But it was kind of farcical.
That made Sunday's session of little interest, with the gaps between drivers insurmountable, and had a major influence on what turned out to be a largely processional race.
"I just feel strongly about the quali thing that we shouldn't make it too much of a handicap sport," Coulthard added.
"It's like getting Chelsea to drop a couple of men from a few matches just because they're winning too much. It's not fair."
The biggest loser at the weekend was Brazilian Felipe Massa, whose Sauber left the pit lane on slick tyres moments before the heavens opened.
He skidded around the circuit before giving up the struggle and failing to set a mark. With times aggregated to determine the starting grid, he had no chance of moving up the order in Sunday's session.
"Look at Massa. Poor guy. Slick tyres, rain. And that's his qualifying," Coulthard said.
"All the work and effort, his career, the team and the sponsors -- all of that goes up in smoke because he gets rain.
"There is so much more at stake than just a sporting spectacle. There's people's livelihoods."
The Scot, one of the most experienced drivers with more than a decade in the sport, said the solution was to ditch the controversial format whereby drivers each go out on their own for a single timed lap.
"This whole one lap thing spaced out over an hour is the problem," he said. "(It should be) one hour, four laps and you've got to do a lap in every 15 minutes, with all the cars out there.
"I went to a MotoGP last year and in the last five minutes you were on edge because it was great, everyone's out there jockeying for position.
"I don't even think I got excited this morning going out to qualify," he said.
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