Felipe Massa feels the revised qualifying format will play into the hand of Mercedes but hopes it can be more exciting for the fans.
With F1 set for a new elimination-style qualifying format in 2016 – with the slowest driver being knocked out every 90 seconds in the Q1, 2 and 3 sessions until it leaves two to fight for pole – Massa feels it should only be implemented if the fans appreciate it more than the previous model.
Despite speculation it could mix up the grid on a more regular basis, Massa believes for the teams at the sharp end of the grid it may have the opposite effect and help the likes of Mercedes with its tyre strategy and management when it comes to the race.
“I think it can be interesting maybe for the people at home,” Massa said. “I don't think for us that will be really, really interesting especially if you are a team that is one second in front of everybody.
“If Mercedes is so far in front like they were last year it will just be better for them because they can qualify with the hard tyres and start the race with the hard tyres and they still disappear even more. I think for the teams that are fighting for 0.1s or 0.2s then you might not get to Q3 so it will be a lot more difficult - for us I would say.”
Regardless of his concerns, Massa says if it improves the spectacle of the sport then he will be a supporter of it to help add a spark back into F1.
“So I'm not sure if I prefer it like that, but if it's OK for the show I'm fine,” he said. “It's important that people enjoy it, but if people don't enjoy it, it's not fine.”
F1 could be set for an interim qualifying format after Bernie Ecclestone said the software for the elimination-style process would not be ready until the start of the European stint of the season.
Between the start of 2016 and the European rounds a hybrid version has been tabled with the knockout style used for Q1 and 2 before the previous model will be adopted to decide the front four rows of the grid.