Qualifying ‘only half the battle’ now – Wurz image

(Inautonews.com/GMM) F1’s 2011 formula has pulled another key player into the foreground, according to former 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.

China three weeks ago was a good example; many tyre pitstops and different strategies, and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton emerging with victory despite Red Bull having ultimately the quicker car.

And Mark Webber’s run to the podium from deep on the grid showed the value of compromising qualifying in order to save crucial Pirelli rubber for the race.

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

“Qualifying is still important but it’s only half the battle. In the past, 90 per cent of the weekend was decided in qualifying,” the 37-year-old added.