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'The end of qualifying' - Trulli
Jarno Trulli has said that the downside to the new rules in 2011 is "the end of qualifying".
With the introduction of rapidly degrading Pirelli tyres to provide more exciting races and the DRS in an effort to increase the possibilities for overtaking, grid position has become less important. With opportunities to overtake later in the race, tyre management has become key, leading to some drivers not attempting to improve on their qualifying position in order to conserve a set of tyres.
Trulli said that once they reached the final qualifying session teams were working to a strategy rather than targeting pole position.
"Like everything in life, the 2011 changes in F1 have some pros and cons," Trulli wrote in his column for La Repubblica. "The pros are more exciting and spectacular races, which the public seem to like; the cons are grands prix that are a bit less comprehensible and, since Istanbul, what I call 'the end of qualifying.'
For the first time this year we've seen that, once Q3 is reached, instead of trying to snatch pole position off the others like they always do, drivers and teams preferred to make their calculations and just be content."
Trulli also said that now teams had an understanding of the new Pirelli tyres they were adapting their approaches to a race weekend accordingly.
"The truth is that strategy this year has a more decisive role than usual. Here at Istanbul, for example, the race started before the race itself by saving tyres. As I've always said, everyone's mission at this time is to learn the Pirellis. Well, after three races we finally have an initial and reliable measure of the level of tyre degradation.
So, whoever had the capability and the strength to save a set of tyres on Saturday did just that. This thing obviously involved the drivers that made the top ten. As soon as they made the Q2 cut, they started to make their calculations. For many the problem was whether to utilise or not the remaining set of tyres. The ones that got into Q3 by a whisker, the outsiders, didn't even try."
Trulli said that while it was a negative feature of the new tyres, he wasn't criticising the situation, and that it was necessary to facilitate more exciting races.
"The top guys set the laptime then stopped. The others, the ones who usually animate the fight, did one try and quit at the first mistake. Some feel a formula that worked has been ruined. I don't want to say that. I simply observe that these are the rules and the drivers have adapted to them.
There are pros and cons, I repeat: the pros are better races decided in the last 10-15 laps depending on the strategies and the tyres, while the cons are that qualifying is less spectacular and more tactical."
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