MONZA, Italy -- Fernando Alonso has blamed the new tarmac at the Monza circuit for the long delay in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.
Heavy rain throughout Saturday afternoon saw a long delay between the three qualifying segments. One problem during the two and a half hour break was standing water on the circuit, which can cause aquaplaning, something which caught out Romain Grosjean at the start of Q1.
Alonso says the new surface, laid on the iconic circuit ahead of this year's race, is the reason the session took so long to complete.
"I think the main straight was just too wet," Alonso said. "The new asphalt was not F1 standards. We can't have that difference between one asphalt and the other."
The long delay presented a problem for F1's various international broadcasters, with no cars on track except from the occasional exploratory laps from the Safety Car. Though Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen provided some entertainment by hijacking an FOM camera and filming the Mercedes garage and pit wall, there was minimal activity for the TV audience and even less for those watching from the stands.
The situation was similar to Austin in 2015, where a storm prompted a host of impromptu activities in the pit lane -- including the Red Bull drivers dancing and Toro Rosso using energy drink cans for ten-pin bowling. Alonso says F1 has to work out a way to keep fans entertained when the weather delays sessions from going ahead as scheduled.
"It's a shame. It's happened a couple of times already and it's bad for the spectators, it's bad for television and hopefully the FOM or the FIA will be creative and find a new way to deal with this kind of situation," he added.
"It's the usual problem. It's not the first time it happens. From the outside, the spectator wants to see the cars running, and the people on track want to see the cars running, so they need to find a solution. The track was fine, it was in a condition to run, only the straight was too wet.
"It's another strange episode and let's see if the FIA or FOM can find a solution to offer a bit of a show while the track conditions improve."