Audi's McNish: Formula E drivers must 'get on' with qualifying format
|By Alex Kalinauckas||Thursday, April 25th 2019, 15:48 GMT|
Allan McNish says ABB FIA Formula E drivers must "just get on with" the championship's reverse-standings order qualifying rather than complaining, as it means they are in the title hunt.
FE's group qualifying rules changed ahead of the 2018/19 season, with the top five in the championship now always running in the opening phase.
That has led to criticism from some drivers as at certain tracks - in particular Santiago and Rome - the track evolution deficit has been so extreme that a superpole place from group one is unlikely.
FE heads to tight tracks in Paris and Monaco for its next two rounds - venues where overtaking is difficult.
Audi team boss McNish - a triple Le Mans winner and former Formula 1 driver - was asked if he understood the drivers' frustrations about qualifying, as well as the need to balance those feelings with the resulting mixed-up grids, which have played a part in this campaign's extremely close title fight.
"It's a funny one really because from a pure sporting point of view, you want to have equality across the board," he told Autosport.
"But the reality is you never do have equality across the board in terms of these things.
"The part where it is equal is that everybody knows the regulations.
"And it's basically good to be in group one, because that means you're in the first five in the championship.
"It's a penalty in terms of your positioning most of the time for qualifying, but it actually means you're right in the hunt for the championship.
"So, it is a wee bit of a double edged sword in some sort of ways.
"As a team we've got to contend with it.
"As drivers they have to contend with it and just get on with it because that's what it is, not pushing or complaining about it."
Alex Kalinauckas, Formula E correspondent @nauckas
The next two races are going to place even more importance on qualifying than most FE events, where a high grid position is usually key anyway.
The Circuit des Invalides that the drivers will tackle this weekend and the shortened version of the Monaco Grand Prix track they will used in two weeks' time are notoriously tough places to pull off passes.
As result, we can expect the issue of the championship-order qualifying groups to come up regularly - which is understandable given the title run-in is upon the drivers and so many of them can win the championship.
The 'rules are the rules' cliche applies here and one of the best outcomes of the current qualifying is that it rewards drivers producing brilliant laps to escape the early groups, and still spices up the grids.
The attack mode is going to be in the spotlight in Paris and Moanco - with the latter's pitlane rumoured to be being used instead of a typical activation zone placement. Its ability to reduce the likelihood of processional races will be tested to the maximum.