Teams meet with FIA to discuss qualifying

03/04/2016
NEWS STORY

Those who wondered whether qualifying in Bahrain might see an improvement on the session witnessed in Melbourne didn't have to wait long for the answer.

Chequered flags waved at empty tarmac, the pole-winner already out of his car and celebrating with over two minutes remaining, and news that drivers were about to be eliminated as the TV cameras picked up on them walking along the pitlane.

Fact is, yesterday's session was even worse than Melbourne.

"It's unbelievable," seethed Toto Wolff, a leading critic of the new format, even though his two drivers had just claimed the front row, Lewis Hamilton having driven a particularly stunning lap.

"I think after today's Q1 and Q2 I don't see what you can like there," Wolff continued. "It's very difficult to follow who is in and who is out. I think we have a duty to simplify the sport rather than add complexity.

"It doesn't mix up the field in a way that would make the race more entertaining," he added, though Daniil Kvyat, Sergio Perez might argue the point, "so I hope we can have some reasonable discussions tomorrow."

Consequently, this morning Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt are meeting with the eleven teams as well as Pirelli, one of the theories to improve the format being providing drivers with an extra set of tyres, a move which could see more running in Q3.

"Australia happened, and clearly it was a disappointment about Q3," Todt told reporters. "Why was it a disappointment? Because for the first time in a long time, with three minutes to go, we had drivers climbing out of their cars.

"The immediate reaction was to speak to Charlie (Whiting) and he suggested one of the problems with Q3 was that the drivers were missing a set of tyres. So I asked him to speak to Pirelli and see if it would be possible to introduce for Q3 one more set of super-soft tyres, which he did."

"They said they couldn't do it for here (Bahrain)," revealed Whiting. "They said it would be impossible to get another set of Q3 tyres."

"They said it would be possible for China, but with additional cost," added Todt.

"We have learned more from qualifying here," he continued. "In my opinion, Q1 and Q2 will be optimised, it is Q3, which is the biggest problem. One opportunity is to have another set of tyres. That will increase the show.

"Another possibility is that with the top eight, the eight quickest from Q2 leaves first at the green flag, and while he is doing his lap, the seventh quickest goes and does his lap. So you have one car alone on the track with an unpredictable final result. There are a lot of solutions that can be highlighted.

"I felt it was necessary to give one more chance to this form of qualifying before reverting back to 2015."

Whilst the FIA president might think it was necessary to give the format "one more chance", in the eyes of most fans Melbourne was a chance too many.

Let's hope there's common sense, unanimity and a (rare) lack of self-interest at today's meeting.

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Published: 03/04/2016
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