Pole Position No Longer Important in F1 - Red Bull Boss

If we learnt anything from the race in China recently, it was that almost any given car – with the sole exception of the 2010 new entrants – can overtake a rival challenger if provided with better tires, the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) and the use of the Drag Reduction System (DRS).

And it was only a question of time before people realized qualifying positions will become underrated in this new era of Formula 1, really. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Mark Webber proved it all too well on the Shanghai International Circuit two weekends ago, when they recuperated 15+ seconds (more in the case of the latter) in the last 10-15 laps of the Chinese Grand Prix.

Red Bull's team boss Christian Horner confirmed the new trend in F1 recently, admitting that the action on Saturday counts far lesser than the tire strategy on Sunday, especially if you throw KERS and DRS into the mix.

It makes you question the value of qualifying,” said Horner, according to the Sunday Times. “Now the cars can overtake and with such a big difference between old and new tires, we are going to have to reassess at each track how important it is to get to the front of the grid. Our strategists will look at how we should be structuring our race weekends.”

Webber started the Chinese Grand Prix from 18th place and finished it on the podium, mainly thanks to an extra set of soft tires, courtesy of his failure to qualify for Q2. If he had qualified for the second phase of qualifying, the Australian would have used that set and the history of the race could have been written otherwise.

According to the characteristics of the track and the tires at any given weekend, you might want to tilt the whole thing in favor of having fast, new tires at key parts of the race, maybe at the expense of qualifying. You have to do a lot of overtaking to make it work, but Mark showed it can be done. You could say he needed a couple more laps to have won.”
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