the way it worked before is an absolute must for a simple reason :
when FARR is focused you can "navigate" to super important aliases with hotkeys...
it does what it says
you press the hotkey it actually does what you expect it to do
IMHO, now it feels like a bug not a feature
PS: actually i run an autohotkey script :
i call FARR using CAPSLOCK (it opens with a blank search text)
then if a press CAPSLOCK again (FARR being focused) it triggers a FARR hotkey (to a specific alias...)
at some point i was doing it with command-line search switch but hotkeys are faster...