BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 04: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 and Second placed qualifier Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 stop in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 04, 2023 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) qualifying

Verstappen: No benefit experimenting with F1 qualifying

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 04: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 and Second placed qualifier Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 stop in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 04, 2023 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) qualifying

Formula 1 will experiment with qualifying at two races this season, the first likely to be Imola in May, but Bahrain Grand Prix pole winner Max Verstappen and other drivers see no need for change.

The plan is to restrict tyre choice for the Saturday session so the first phase of qualifying will be hard compound tyres only, the second mediums and the final top 10 shootout on the quickest softs.

Drivers currently have a free choice of tyre throughout qualifying. The move would reduce each driver’s allocation to 11 sets of tyres from 13 for the weekend, reducing the number Pirelli make and transport.

The experiment has been confirmed by the governing FIA but the races have yet to be confirmed by Pirelli, although teams have flagged up Italy’s Imola as the start of the European season.

“I hope it’s not going to be cold in Imola, otherwise it’s going to be quite tricky,” Red Bull’s reigning F1 World Champion Verstappen told reporters at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Max: I don’t think we need to actually do these kinds of things

What the teams said - Qualifying at the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix | Formula 1®

He continued: “It’s the same for everyone but I don’t think we need to actually do these kinds of things in qualifying. I don’t really see the benefit of it.

“It’s better if we make sure that all the cars are close to each other and more competitive instead of spicing things up in that way, which I think is probably for the show,” reckoned Verstappen.

Teammate Sergio Perez, second in qualifying on Saturday, agreed with the Dutch driver: “We do not really need to change anything. We’ll see once we try it but I don’t think there’s a need to change something that is working well.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, third on the grid for today’s race in, agreed: “I don’t feel there was a need for change for that but let’s try and see.”

Red Bull locked out the front row in qualifying for today’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, to get the defence of both their F1 titles to the best start possible. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)