McLaren driver Fernando Alonso said he was "sad for the sport" because of the perceptions created by the uncertainty in the qualifying format for the upcoming season.

By: Valentin Khorounzhiy, Editorial Assistant

McLaren driver Fernando Alonso said he was "sad for the sport" because of the perceptions created by the uncertainty in the qualifying format for the upcoming season.

The proposed introduction of the elimination rule to qualifying has been a major talking point for Formula 1 in recent days and, while it initially looked an inevitability, a recent pushback from Ferrari, as well as a number of drivers, has created uncertainty over what F1 qualifying will be like in 2016.

Asked what he thinks of the elimination format, Alonso said: "I don't really have a big opinion. It's sad. I am sad.

"I am sad for the sport because... it doesn't look right, from the outside. When in one week, we change the qualifying format three times - or pretend to change, no one officialised anything.

"If I was a sportsman from another sport, I would look at Formula 1 a bit surprised about that. I don't think it's right - and the changes, too many changes. The complexity of the rules, also for the spectators, is quite high.

"All my friends here in Spain, they want to switch on television, watch battles, big cars, big tyres, big noise and enjoy the race, like they do with other sports.

"But for us they only know MGU-H, MGU-K, state of charge, supersoft, use mandatory mediums. Things like that... it's no wonder they switch off the television."

Advocating for single-lap qualifying

A number of drivers expressed their dissatisfaction with the proposed qualifying changes to Charlie Whiting in a recent meeting, which Alonso did not take part in.

"I was not in the meeting - but any of the things that my mates will say, I will agree completely - because I think it's a unanimous thing," he said.

"We want simplicity in the rules - and even the one-lap format, the superpole that we did in 2005, I think, 2006, was spectacular.

"Everyone has one lap of television coverage, it's simple: one lap, you brake late, maybe you start 15th - there is some adrenaline on that lap as well.

"But I don't know. Whatever they decide, we will go for it as we did for the last 16 years."

Hamilton likewise downbeat

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton appeared to share former teammate Alonso's gloom over the current state of the series.

Asked whether he felt on Thursday if the sport was ‘broken, lacking direction or in rude health’, the Mercedes driver replied: "I’d say probably the first two you listed.

"I don’t want to say too much about it, but I do agree with the first two things you suggested."

Kvyat perplexed by changes

Meanwhile, Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat spoke in support of the existing qualifying format, deeming that the changes were unnecessary and confusing.

"I don't think we need to change qualifying, to be honest," he said. "It was fine. It was okay.

"Why confuse people even more? Even we don't understand what's going on, imagine the other people on the TV. No point for me."

Verstappen is "up for it"

Finally, Max Verstappen, of Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso, was a dissenting voice.

Recalling the meeting with Whiting, he said: "We just talked a bit about what we thought about qualifying. We have to wait and see.

"There’s still a lot of discussions going on. It’s something new. It’ll be challenging and people will make mistakes - hopefully not us.

"It’s interesting and I’m up for it."

Additional reporting by Jamie Klein, Jonathan Noble, Oleg Karpov and Benjamin Vinel

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