Fernando Alonso has expressed his frustration with the current indecision afflicting Formula 1's progress as its qualifying format faces uncertainty with just two weeks' to go until the 2016 opening round.
The sport had been due to shake up the qualifying format by introducing a rolling knockout feature to replace the current knockout system. However, the format received a lukewarm reception from drivers and fans, before it transpired it could be delayed to the Spanish Grand Prix in May anyway due to a software timing issue.
A revised proposal that would see the first two stages of qualifying run to the new format, with the final stage unchanged, was mooted, but a meeting of the drivers and the FIA has put it back under threat altogether.
Coming just two weeks before the Australian Grand Prix gets underway and the latest in a string of proposals that are amended after they are first revealed, Alonso says the whole situation leaves him 'sad' for the state of the sport, adding he understands why viewers are switching off.
“It's sad. I am sad,” he said. “I am sad for the sport because it does not look right from the outside when in one week we change the qualifying format three times. Or we pretend to change. No one officialises anything. If I were a sportsman from another sport I will look at Formula One a little bit surprised about that.
“I don't think that it is right. And the change, there are too many changes. The complexity of the rule also for the spectator is quite high. I think all my friends here in Spain they want to switch on the television and watch battles, big cars, big tyres, big noise and enjoy the race like they do with other sports.
“But for us they only know MGU-H, MGU-K, State of Charge, Supersoft, use mandatory medium tyre. When you are fourth in the race, three laps to the end you need to stop because you need to put another mandatory tyre. Things like that it's normal that they switch off the television.”
Discussing the qualifying format itself, Alonso says he doesn't understand why it must undergo a change, saying simplicity is key to the rules.
“We want simplicity on the rules. Even the one-lap format, super-pole that we did in 2005 was quite spectacular. Every one has one-lap television coverage. It's simple. You do one lap, you brake late, maybe you start 15th because you miss a corner.
“There is some adrenalin on that lap as well. Whatever they decide we will go for it as we have done for the last 16 years.”