Qualifying less important now says Wurz

Alex Wurz

Alex Wurz

May 5 (GMM) Formula 1′s 2011 regulations have pulled another key player into the foreground, according to former Grand Prix driver and now Austrian commentator Alex Wurz.

“Now, as well as the driver and the designer, the strategist has a crucial role,” he told Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

Proof was in China three weeks ago, where many tyre pitstops and different strategies were witnessed, with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton emerging with victory despite Red Bull having the quicker car for most part of the weekend.

Mark Webber’s run to the podium from 18th on the grid showed the value of compromising qualifying in order to save Pirelli tyres for the race – theses decisions proved crucial and have set the benchmark.

“A new set of tyres for the race can be better than two or even three rows of the grid,” Wurz pointed out.

“Qualifying is still important but it’s only half the battle. In the past, 90 per cent of the weekend was decided in qualifying,” added Wurz who drove for Benetton, McLaren and Williams in his F1 career which started in 1998.