Jolyon Palmer does not think proposed F1 qualifying overhaul will change much

24 Feb 2016 12:23

Briton's Jolyon Palmer has described the proposed overhaul of qualifying as "strange" and does not expect the changes to make much difference to Formula One's under-fire show.

Formula One's Strategy Group - which consists of the major teams, as well as Bernie Ecclestone, the sport's chief executive and FIA president Jean Todt - met in Geneva on Tuesday in a bid to spice up the sport.

While full details of the discussions are yet to be revealed by the FIA it has emerged that the structure of qualifying will be amended for the 2016 season.

The slowest drivers will now be eliminated every 90 seconds after a timed period - rather than at the end of the three sessions - in hope of providing greater unpredictability.

But Palmer, a rookie to the sport this season, was far from enamoured by the ruling which is set to be ratified by Formula One's Commission ahead of next month's Australian Grand Prix.

"It is a strange idea as I don't see it will make a massive difference," said Palmer. "I didn't see qualifying as an issue. I didn't even know there were talks.

"Obviously I hear about all the other things that may be going on, but I thought qualifying was alright as it is.

"To be honest, I don't see it doing that much apart from having the odd shake-up when a car can't get out early in a session or you miss a first lap and suddenly you can have your back to the wall as a driver. I am fairly indifferent to it really."

The talks in Switzerland took place under the back drop of Ecclestone, 85, claiming Formula One was as bad as he had seen it in his long association with the sport.

Faster, more aggressive-looking cars were also on the agenda for the 2017 season while Red Bull team principal Christian Horner claimed earlier this week that Ecclestone was keen to table the idea of reverse grids.

Palmer added: "I think the racing is what anyone cares about really. So how you set the grid doesn't matter if the racing is the same level with what people have been disappointed with in the last couple of years.

"Maybe you have someone out of position, but we have had that before and it doesn't exactly make for a cracking race to have a driver out of position. The ability to overtake is the biggest thing. The Sunday show is what anyone really cares about."

DRS (Drag Reduction System), the artificial driver's aid introduced in 2011 to increase overtaking, will remain in the sport.

But Palmer, speaking from Barcelona on the third day of this week's opening test, said: "There is a lot of impure overtaking. Personally I don't value an overtake that is just done in a straight line by pushing a button. I think the fans see straight through that as well.

"You want to see someone making a late lunge, locking a wheel and almost contact.

"Also, the fact that Mercedes are so dominant and they didn't overtake each other once during the whole of last year other than the first lap or the first corner. I think that is the sort of thing that needs to be looked at."