Formula One rookie Bruno Senna has suggested that qualifying for next weekend's Monaco Grand Prix by run differently to the rest of the season to avoid the three new teams getting in the way of the faster established teams.
The Brazilian's Hispania Racing team, along with fellow newcomers Lotus and Virgin, have routinely qualified at the back of the field, and several seconds off the pace of those in the midfield, let alone at the front of the grid, and he has called on the powers-that-be to give those off the pace a separate qualifying session in order to avoid possible controversy.
Senna told journalists that he would be putting the suggestion to his fellow pilots at Friday's drivers' meeting at the Circuit de Catalunya, ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.
"This is something that I am just making up right now, [but] I am going to suggest this to them and see what they think," he confirmed, "We have to discuss this with [race director] Charlie [Whiting], how are we going to do it, and it's up to the FIA [whether the plan is adopted]."
Senna admitted that his idea would also make the qualifying less stressful for the six drivers running with the new teams, even though some, such as Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock have more F1 experience than the Brazilian and rookie HRT team-mate Karun Chandhok. Whether the participants include just the six new cars, or a couple more, remains a point to be discussed, with those teams with bigger ambitions - and the hope of creating an upset - likely to be upset by their inclusion.
"It's not a bad idea if they take maybe six or eight cars from the group of the slowest cars and then the other guys go in a different qualifying session - it will probably be a good idea for both," Senna insisted, "We don't want someone much faster than us coming to overtake us, and they don't want to be every lap getting someone slower. The eight slowest from the aggregate of the practice sessions could be a good indicator."
Trulli, a former polesitter and racewinner in the Principality, agreed that Senna's proposal was a good one.
"I would think that, somehow, the FIA should
think to split us," the Italian admitted, "I don't know how to approach it, but I think 24 cars on track [in Monaco] is going to be hard."
The most logical solution, without hampering the already tight Monaco schedule, would surely be to turn the opening phase of qualifying over to the new teams - plus any other candidates determined by the drivers and/or FIA - as they would be the most likely fallers at that stage of the session. The remaining 16-18 cars would then enter the fray in phase two of the knock-out session, with the fastest ten progressing to the pole position shoot-out as usual.