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New F1 qualifying format: How second trial will attempt to cut down tyre usage at Italian GP

F1 will give a second trial to 'Alternative Tyre Allocation' qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix; drivers and teams will have mandatory tyre compounds to use in Q1, Q2 and Q3, as opposed to having a free choice if Saturday's qualifying is dry

HUNGARORING, HUNGARY - JULY 31: The Ferrari pit crew spring into action during the Hungarian GP at Hungaroring on Sunday July 31, 2022 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Steven Tee / LAT Images)

A new F1 qualifying format is returning for its second trial at this weekend's Italian Grand Prix. Here Sky Sports F1 explains the reasons behind it and how it will work.

What's changed?

Rather than teams and drivers having a free tyre choice in Saturday's hour-long session, there will instead be mandatory tyres set for each segment of qualifying.

Providing that track is dry for the session:

In Q1 only the hard tyre will be available.

In Q2 only the medium tyre will be available.

In Q3 only the soft tyre will be available.

If a wet session is declared then the drivers and teams will have a free choice of tyre.

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Why have the changes been made?

The intention of the 'Alternative Tyre Allocation' trial is to see if fewer tyres can be taken to Grand Prix weekends.

Under the trial, the number of dry tyre sets available to each car for the weekend is reduced from 13 to 11.

This amounts to 40 sets - or 160 tyres - being saved over the course of the weekend. If this was implemented at all 23 races this season, it would save 3,680 tyres.

F1 tyres

Each driver will have three sets of hard tyres, four sets of medium tyres and four sets of soft tyres available to them over the weekend.

This represents an extra set of hard and medium tyres but a reduction by four sets of soft tyres.

As was the case at the previous trial in Hungary, Pirelli have selected their softest available tyres - the C3, C4 and C5 - which should help reduce any difficulty warming up the harder compounds.

The number of intermediate and wet tyres available to drivers over the weekend remains unchanged at four and three sets respectively.

Was the first trial of the format successful?

The Emilia Romagna GP in May was meant to be the first of two trial runs for the new format, but the event was called off before a car was able to take to the track because of flooding in northern Italy.

Therefore the first trial took place at the Hungarian Grand Prix in July, when there were undoubtedly some teething issues.

The main problem was that teams still want to ensure they can take their usual seven sets of new tyres into qualifying and the race, which leaves them just four sets of tyres to use across the weekend's three practice sessions.

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Lewis Hamilton pipped Max Verstappen to pole position as the ATA debuted in Hungary

While the timesheet in practice sessions isn't always totally reflective of the pecking order for the weekend, more often than not it provides an accurate picture and is therefore entertaining to fans.

Offering fewer tyres appeared to detract quite significantly from this spectacle, as drivers were unable to perform qualifying simulations, and generally able to spend less time on track.

While some tweaking would appear to be required, the qualifying element of the format was a success.

The first two parts of qualifying in Hungary were action-packed as drivers circulated for much of the session as track improvement enabled faster times to be set on the hard and medium compounds.

The fact that different cars might perform better on different compounds added another layer of jeopardy.

Pirelli tyres

What did Hamilton and Verstappen make of the format?

The drivers all seemed to agree that the format was problematic in terms of practice sessions, and most worried about fans being short-changed.

After taking pole position in Hungary, Lewis Hamilton said: "People said that we criticised the ATA. I think it was more just being conscious of the fans here.

"When we only have one set in the session, we have less running and already when they changed the rules many years ago where we only have two sets in the session it doesn't lead you to a lot of running and we have less time on track as well. So, I'm not sure that was necessarily the best for the Friday, for entertainment."

F1 tyre pit stop

"But today it clearly provided great… It was great starting on the hard in the first session and then going to the medium, I generally enjoyed the qualifying session in that respect."

World championship leader Max Verstappen, who has repeatedly expressed his opposition to making too many changes to the sport's structure, was less convinced.

"I like the normal format," Verstappen said. "I don't think there's anything wrong with it and I think when you have cars which are very close, like we have now in Q3 on a soft, that was probably still the most exciting.

Max Verstappen
Image: World championship leader Verstappen is unconvinced by the new format

"So you can still also have that in Q1, Q2 on soft tyres, so it doesn't really matter the format.

"I think it's more important, like Lewis said, on Friday that we just run, instead of just sitting in the box. People are paying so much money to sit in the grandstands and you're not doing a lot of laps, so that's not ideal."

Sky Sports F1's live Italian GP schedule

Thursday 31 August
2pm: Drivers' Press Conference

Friday 1 September
8.35am: F3 Practice
10am: F2 Practice
12pm: Italian GP Practice One (session starts at 12.30pm)
2pm: F3 Qualifying
2.45pm: F2 Qualifying
3.40pm: Italian GP Practice Two (session starts at 4pm)
5.15pm: The F1 Show

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Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Italian Grand Prix.

Saturday 2 September
8.20am: F3 Sprint Race
11.15am: Italian GP Practice Three (session starts at 11.30am)
1.10pm: F2 Sprint Race
2.10pm: Italian GP Qualifying build-up
3pm: Italian GP Qualifying
4.45pm: Ted's Qualifying Notebook

Sunday 3 September
7.10am: F3 Feature Race
8.15am: F2 Feature Race
12.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Italian GP build-up
4pm: Chequered Flag: Italian GP reaction
5pm: Ted's Notebook

Next up for for Formula 1 is Monza, the Temple of Speed, which is the last European race of the season. All sessions from the Italian GP will be live on Sky Sports F1 from this Friday. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW for just £26 a month for 12 months. Cancel anytime

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