Jarno Trulli has said that he thinks the tyre situation in the sport in 2011 has killed the importance of qualifying.
Writing in Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the Lotus driver alludes to the potential advantage gained by conserving a set of tyres during qualifying and not going out.
“Now I can confirm it,” he wrote.
“The drivers are focusing more on saving a set of tyres than doing the fastest lap, and in the race the reason becomes clear. Who[ever] has more tyres, wins.”
At last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, Nick Heidfeld managed to go from the back of the grid to finish eighth, partially because he did not go out at all during qualifying because of an unrelated mechanical problem.
Michael Schumacher also scored good points, having got into the top ten Q3 shootout but electing not to run and starting tenth.
Rubens Barrichello today agreed with Trulli.
“Some big teams will be thinking seriously about using only hard tyres in qualifying, dropping to 16th or 17th, and having three sets of new soft tyres for the race,” he is quoted as saying by ESPN. “Depending on the track, that could be the best way.”
The debate is likely to continue as the season progresses.