Knockout qualifying will remain for Bahrain before review
Formula 1’s controversial new elimination qualifying system will continue unaltered for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, but will undergo a further review following the race as to whether it remains for the rest of the season or not.
The new format, which eliminates drivers at 90second intervals during all three qualifying sessions, was met with stinging criticism during its first use in Australia. The format prompted cars to run just once early during the session, with teams and drivers confused by the system.
Top team bosses and drivers called for it to be scrapped immediately, but following a meeting of F1’s Strategy Group last week, the format will be given a second chance.
Bernie Ecclestone told Autosport: “They’re going to do what I proposed, which is leave things as they are for this race [in Bahrain]. After that we will then have a good look and decide whether what was done was the right thing to do, the wrong thing to do, does it need modifying, does it need scrapping?
“This was an FIA idea in the first place, so I’ve said to them we’ll support whatever they think is the right thing to do. But as nobody knows what the right thing to do is, we’ve said we’ll stay where we are and have a look after this race. Then two races in we’ll see, as it was a prototype, what was right or wrong. The teams didn’t understand what they were doing either, which didn’t help at all.”
The F1 Commission has also discussed a hybrid format, which would involve continuing to eliminate cars at timed intervals during the first two stages of qualifying, with the final phase reverting to the traditional format.
Drivers and fans will have to give the new format another chance