Alonso: New rules proof F1 went in the wrong direction

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Fernando Alonso believes that the proposed changes suggested by the Formula 1 Strategy Group in a meeting last week act as proof that the sport has been going in the wrong direction in recent years.

At a meeting in England last week, representatives from six of the leading F1 teams plus the sport’s governing body, the FIA, and the commercial rights holder, F1 Group, agreed to seismic changes to the technical regulations for the 2017 season.

In a bid to make races more exciting, the Strategy Group agreed to reintroduce refuelling and make the cars more aggressive, believing that they could lap up to six seconds per lap quicker should these changes be implemented.

Speaking about the proposed changes ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, Alonso questioned the direction that F1 is moving in given that it will be going back to its former self.

“I think if the rules comes back we will get the same rules as seven or eight years ago, which means the last four of five years we were going in the wrong direction,” the Spaniard said.

“In 2005, the cars were eight seconds quicker. In Malaysia, compare the winner this year to the winner in 2006, it could be six laps slower. When you are six or seven minutes quicker than this year’s car, that is very demanding, physically and mentally. Everything was pushed to the limit.”

The reintroduction of refuelling has been the most controversial change tabled by the Strategy Group, but Alonso is supportive of the move, believing that it would shake up the pecking order and strategies used by teams.

“[It] would open some strategy and imagination, and help you in some races if you can choose whatever fuel you will start or do the first stint on,” he said.

“It helped in the past, I managed to get some pole positions with half of the fuel of the others and then in the race you see what happens.

“If now you gave me a paper, I’d give you the grid for here, Canada and Austria. This is probably what fans are not welcoming.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III