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It's amazing how many of the team principles of those at the sharp end of the grid have very short memories. It wasn't *that* long ago that there were more than 24-26 cars on the grid, and several of them were at least 4-6 seconds slower than the pole contenders. The only reason the 107% rule was in effect was that there were more entrants than one could safely have on the grid at any given time (I could be wrong, though).
And again, people forget that without the smaller teams in F1, there would be no Fernando Alonso. Starting his career at Minardi was probably the best thing for his career. Better to learn in the shallow end of the pool than to be thrown into the ocean and told to swim.