Sebastian Vettel has criticized the decision to revamp Formula 1’s qualifying format less than three weeks before the start of the season in Australia, calling it “chaotic’.
Last week, the F1 Commission unanimously voted in favor of adding quickfire eliminations to qualifying from the start of the 2016 season as part of a shake-up of the existing structure.
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone then revealed that its introduction would be delayed until the Spanish Grand Prix in May as the timing software had not yet been written.
However, the FIA then confirmed that it would be implemented in full from the Australian Grand Prix weekend, with the drivers being briefed on the new format in Barcelona earlier this week.
The decision was finalized on Thursday, just 15 days before it will be put into action for the first time.
Lewis Hamilton said earlier this week that he felt F1 was broken and lacked direction, and although Vettel did not agree fully with this, he said that the qualifying debacle was proof of how unclear the leadership of the series is.
“I don’t think it is broken. I think if you measure in terms of the races, maybe it’s a bit difficult to measure, but in terms of the show, I think Formula 1 is doing fine,” Vettel said.
“In the background, the decisions lately. It is fair to say it is lacking leadership. I think it’s a little bit chaotic if a couple of weeks before the season, you start to reinvent certain rules and formats of qualifying as has been discussed in the last couple of weeks.”
Vettel said that he was not a fan of the new qualifying format, and that his view was shared by the majority of the grid.
“I’m not a fan of qualifying. I think speaking on behalf of all the drivers, no driver is,” Vettel said.
“We don’t get what is wrong with the old qualifying and why to change it. It is important the sport remains a sport.
“I can see the excitement for some people with the introduction of the element of randomness, but I think it’s important for the sport to remain a sport so that in the end, the fastest driver comes out on top, paired with the strongest team.
“That has been in the DNA of Formula 1 forever as far as I can remember. That’s the DNA of the sport, starting from karting. Trying to change that in such an extreme manner I think is the wrong way to go and creates chaos, create criticism amongst us the drivers, amongst the fans.
“So in that regard, it is fair to say it lacks leadership.”