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Alonso hits out at complexity of modern F1, ongoing qualifying saga

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Fernando Alonso says that he is saddened by the ongoing Formula 1 qualifying revamp saga, believing that the complexity of the sport risks turning fans away.

Last week, the F1 Commission agreed unanimously to introduce quickfire eliminations to the existing qualifying structure as of the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

The decision was then criticized by F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone, who also revealed that the software required for the new system would not be ready until the Spanish Grand Prix in May.

Reports from the Barcelona paddock in testing earlier this week suggested that the eliminations will now be implemented for Q1 and Q2 in Australia, but Q3 would remain unchanged.

Drivers met with F1 race director Charlie Whiting on Wednesday night to discuss the new format, with many expressing their dismay over the debacle.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Alonso hit out at the lack of a final decision with just 16 days to go until qualifying takes place in Melbourne.

“I’m 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 we pretend to change the format three times but no-one [confirmed] anything,” Alonso said.

“If I was from another sport, I would look at Formula 1 a little bit surprised.”

Alonso said that this was just the latest in a long line of complex rules and aspects of F1 that could turn fans away, also citing the engine and tire rules.

“I don’t think that it’s right, the changes, too many changes,” Alonso said.

“The complexity of the rules also for the spectator is high. All my friends in Spain, they want to switch on the television and watch battles, big cars, big tires, big noise and enjoy the race like they do with other sports.

“But for us they only know about MGU-H, MGU-K, state of charge, super-soft, used, mandatory, medium, when you are fourth in the race three laps to the end, you need to put [on] another mandatory tire – things like that.

“It is normal they switch off the television.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.