HAAS

Motor Sport News - - Gp Extra - By Rob Lad­brook Pho­tos: LAT

We could have given Star Driver just to Ro­main Gros­jean but, in truth, sixth for a team on its F1 de­but is about much more than just one man. OK, the Haas VF-16 wasn’t par­tic­u­larly rapid and does ben­e­fit from Fer­rari in­put, but to be com­pet­i­tive and re­li­able enough to score six points – more than the last three new out­fits com­bined – was no mean feat, and was a fil­lip for F1.

For­mula 1 teams will lobby for the sport to re­vert back to its old qual­i­fy­ing for­mat for the Bahrain Grand Prix on­wards, af­ter the new sys­tem was met with scathing crit­i­cism in Aus­tralia.

Teams, driv­ers and fans alike slammed the new qual­i­fy­ing for­mat af­ter its trial run in Aus­tralia proved dis­as­trous. The new rules dic­tated that cars would be elim­i­nated from qual­i­fy­ing at 90-se­cond in­ter­vals dur­ing each of the three ses­sions – a sys­tem that left many con­fused and driv­ers be­ing elim­i­nated while in the pit garages. Teams also strug­gled to ser­vice cars in the timescales, lead­ing to a flurry of ac­tiv­ity early on and quiet ends to ses­sions.

Qual­i­fy­ing three was the big­gest fail­ure, with many of the fastest cars choos­ing to do a sin­gle quick run and then save tyres for the race. It meant all times were set with four min­utes of the ses­sion still re­main­ing. Se­bas­tian Vet­tel even had time to be weighed and change out of his race suit be­fore the clock had ticked to zero.

Af­ter scathing crit­i­cism on Satur­day, teams held crunch talks in Mel­bourne on how to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion as quickly as pos­si­ble. Mercedes’ Toto Wolff said teams were united in their calls to re­vert back to the tra­di­tional qual­i­fy­ing for­mat from Bahrian on­wards, but any such move must first be rat­i­fied by both the FIA’S F1 Com­mis­sion and its F1 Strat­egy Group – the fac­tions that im­posed the new for­mat in the first place.

Wolff said: “There was a meet­ing, with a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion taken to go back to the old for­mat from Bahrain on­wards. It needs to be rat­i­fied by the F1 Com­mis­sion, but I would like to see who puts his hand up for [Satur­day’s] qual­i­fy­ing.

“There were some teams that thought [re­tain­ing the knock­out for­mat] for Q1 and Q2 would shake things up and be in­ter­est­ing, but fun­da­men­tally com­mon sense pre­vailed. We are now back to some­thing we un­der­stand, where we have reg­u­la­tions and not rein­vent some­thing new.

“We would look re­ally silly if there was a new com­pro­mise for next week, and then again we didn’t like it.”

MARCH 23 2016

Teams, driv­ers and fans dis­liked for­mat Ec­cle­stone: mis­takes could be pun­ished Toto Wolff Pub­lic opin­ion was di­vided

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