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Qualifying set for format change

NEWS STORY
20/05/2005

It looks as though the highly unpopular qualifying format could be changed, with some sources saying that a revised format could be introduced as early as next weekend's European Grand Prix.

It's believed that the major change will be the dropping of the Sunday qualifying session, which has proved hugely unpopular with teams, drivers, fans and broadcasters.

The present format was the brainchild of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, and was introduced this season after it worked in Japan 2004 - when all Saturday on-track activity was cancelled as the result of a typhoon alert.

Previously, the FIA has told Pitpass that a change was unlikely this season because it would require the agreement of all ten teams - never likely at the best of times.

When the idea was first mooted, Pitpass was one of the leading critics, warning that broadcasters - particularly in the UK - would not show the Sunday session, which turned out to be the case. Furthermore, the fact that the grid wasn't decided until Sunday, just a few hours before the race, meant that the Saturday session was pointless, at least as far as race fans and broadcasters were concerned.

The new format hasn't been agreed yet, however it will most likely be similar to what we saw in 2004, rather than the old fashioned 'free for all'.

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