The FIA is to be asked to consider introducing a one-off split qualifying session for next weekend's Monaco Grand Prix because of fears about traffic problems at the street event.
With just one week to go ahead of Formula 1's most prestigious event, a number of drivers have expressed some concerns that the large lap time differential between the frontrunners and backmarkers on the narrow track could cause dangers in the opening Q1 session.
HRT's Bruno Senna, whose car will be one of the slowest in the field, has revealed that he plans to speak to FIA race director Charlie Whiting in Friday's drivers' briefing in Spain to put forward the idea of splitting the field up. That would entail removing the frontrunners – who are all but guaranteed getting through Q1 – from the session entirely to minimize the possibility of a big name getting caught out or an accident taking place.
"We have to discuss this with Charlie, how are we going to do it – especially with qualifying," said Senna in the HRT motor home in Barcelona on Thursday. "There are a few things we need to go through with Charlie tomorrow and perhaps in Monaco after first practice.
"The idea of splitting the field is not a bad one to be honest. If they take six or eight cars from the group of the fastest cars, or slowest cars, and the other guys go in a different qualifying, it will probably be a good idea for both people. We don't want someone much faster than us coming to overtake us, and they don't want to be every lap getting someone slower. Let's see how the time schedules go. I suppose it would be possible."
The idea of a one-off to split Q1 is Lotus driver Jarno Trulli's preferred option for sorting the situation out.
"I think it's very hard – for me that I'm slow as well as for guys in front who are very quick," he told AUTOSPORT. "I would think that somehow the FIA should think to split us. I don't know how to approach it but I think 24 cars on track is going to be hard. We really have to manage it in a good way. I don't know if it's right or wrong, but maybe they should consider it."
He added: "Split it any way you want, it's not up to me, but if the teams can agree, let's agree. Because otherwise we'll start complaining over that, so it's better to sort it out before than making a big mess after."
Renault's Robert Kubica reckons the traffic problems in Monaco would be greater this year than they had been in the past.
"Traffic is a normal problem," he said. "It has always been very difficult in Monaco in the past, although I have to say I was always lucky, or always in the position to set my lap time without any troubles in Monaco, which is not easy.
"But, this year, with three teams who are much slower pace, it will be much more difficult. I have been racing in Monaco before with splitting qualifying and there are some advantages and some disadvantages; but for sure we will need some solutions.
"On the other hand, it will be very difficult to get everybody happy with one solution, so I think it is a bit of a difficult topic. I think it will be quite tricky."