Daniel Ricciardo says he anticipates the new qualifying system to be 'a bit more intense', but generally doesn't expect it to prompt much of a change to the eventual order.
Despite some concerns about writing the new qualifying into the timing system, the new rolling elimination format will go live as planned for the Australian Grand Prix. Replacing the knockout format, which has been in place since 2006, it will see the slowest drivers eliminated after 90secs across three phases until just two cars are left to fight it out for pole.
So far, the format has drawn a lukewarm reaction from drivers and fans alike, with Sebastian Vettel going as far to say 'no driver' is in favour of it. Red Bull's Ricciardo, however, is more curious about the change and says he is keen to give it a try, but admits he doesn't expect it to shake up the order much.
“If it is the whole knock out system it puts a bit more emphasis on us going out and putting in a banker early, putting in a lap time straight away,” he said. “Maybe it will make it a bit more intense than it already is, but otherwise not much else.
“We can't rely on the pitwall too much, there is a big lack of communication this year, so it is going to make it a little more interesting for sure. I need to fully understand what is happening with qualifying to give some proper comments, but the whole knockout thing in dry conditions probably won't change that much.
“We should have enough time to put in a lap, but if it starts to rain it is going to get quite chaotic and then trying to fight for track position will be interesting. There will be a few more emotions on track between drivers, so if that spices it up, then why not?”
Earlier this week, Ricciardo directed criticism towards Force India's Nico Hulkenberg for his views on the new halo canopy cockpit device, warning him 'not to be a hero' by his opposition to it.