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Ecclestone wants to continue with current qualifying format

NEWS STORY
24/03/2016

Whilst the events of Sunday afternoon tended to cause many to forget the debacle that was qualifying in Melbourne, the controversial new format could yet be seen again in Bahrain... and beyond.

Whilst the teams, on the instructions of Bernie Ecclestone, met on Sunday morning and voted to return to the old format, it is understood that getting the change past the F1 Commission and World Motor Sport Council cannot be guaranteed, and with the (Bahrain) format needing to be agreed today (Thursday), time is running out.

Pirelli and Force India have both voiced their feelings that the new format wasn't given a chance, and now Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that he feels it might yet work.

Asked if he understood the format, the F1 supremo told Gazzetta dello Sport: "I was confused, but it was the first run and all the variables couldn't have been predicted, like how everything was decided in Q3.

"We can improve," he insisted.

Asked to confirm that the old (2015) format will be in place in Bahrain, which he will attend, he said: "The teams are discussing that and they want to go back. If I were to give an opinion, I would say we will continue with the format from Australia."

"I am a prudent man," he continued, "and new things must be tested. The new qualifying caused a bit of shock, but maybe we can salvage the good of the format."

Asked if he still wants to see successful teams penalised and start further back on the grid, he said: "No. I want to ensure the final result isn't taken for granted. I am an entrepreneur and I must sell F1 to the race organisers. If fans no longer watch than I have less money to give the teams. That is why I have to find the best solution and why having riders eliminated every 90 seconds could be exciting."

It's understood that the most likely scenario is that Q1 and Q2 will be run to the same format as Australia, though possibly extending the period before the knock-out phase begins, and having Q3 return to the old format.

However, such a move, certainly in the time provided, would not address many of the aspects that proved unpopular, not least the way the format was presented to the fans who were not given the information needed.

The uncertainty over one of the most important aspects of a Grand Prix weekend comes at a time the drivers, in an unprecedented move, have called on the sport's powers-that-be for an overhaul of the sport's "obsolete" and "ill-structured" rule-making process, fearing that F1 is currently heading in the wrong direction.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by NVexplorer, 29/03/2016 19:56

"No fool like an old fool, and Bernie takes the cake. Time for "Squinty" to go far, far away."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by MustangGTCS, 25/03/2016 3:03

"Due to the time differences, I usually record everything and watch the practice, qualifying and race in the morning. This farce, qualifying, is a complete waste of electrical power. Consequently, in order to support conservation, i will no longer record or watch it. In order to maintain some level of excitement, for the day, I will watch my grass grow."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by scf1fan, 24/03/2016 15:39

"@TokyoAussie - Well said!"

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4. Posted by TokyoAussie, 24/03/2016 11:46

"There are some people who think Q1 and Q2 were OK in Australia. My opinion is that all three sessions had the same problems, but the problems in Q1 and Q2 were completely overshadowed by the disaster in Q3.

Getting lots of cars out on track at the start made for interesting viewing, but some drivers only get 1 lap before being knocked out. That isn't fair (silly me for thinking fairness came into it). And drivers could be mid-lap or preparing to head out and be knocked out if their previous time happened to be lowest at the next cutoff. That isn't just bad luck, it's embarrassing to watch, not exciting to watch.

And for mine, Q2 was almost as bad as Q3. in Australia, the chequered flag was waved to nobody at the end of Q2 and Q3. NOBODY! Imagine what the guy waving the flag was thinking when he waved the flag to a completely barren track, twice. I shudder to think what the spectators at the track were thinking. The chequered flag should be the high-point of each session as drivers battle to advance.

Keeping the new Q1 and Q2, but reverting to the old Q3 (if they revert at all) only partly solves the problem, the problem created where there was no problem to begin with.

As for Bahrain, I am in 2 minds. If the qualifying format reverts to the old system, then it looks like the powers that be have gotten the message. But if they keep this new qualifying system, even after the massive backlash, it will prove just how obtuse and out of touch the rule makers are. Part of me actually wants to see them ridiculed mercilessly a second time, just to drive home the message."

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by oldestmike, 24/03/2016 11:37

"I think the drivers should flex some muscle and say they're not going to participate. Having said that, I don't see it happening. The driver's don't have the guts to do that. They'll just fold and do what they're told.
"

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6. Posted by scf1fan, 24/03/2016 11:25

"Well, I have better things to do with my time then watch a series of countdown timers . . . See you on race day Bernie. ;-) "

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7. Posted by JackTheCat, 24/03/2016 10:26

"Isn't this just is typical of F1??????

It's made itself a laughing stock one weekend so let's do it again!

The drivers should all refuse to go out!"

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