“We have to look at a new format”
Bosses to vote on a new aggregate system after further woe in Bahrain
Formula 1 bosses have ruled out the possibility of reverting back to the sport’s traditional qualifying format, despite failing to agree on a way forward after a second failure of the knockout system in Bahrain.
The controversial qualifying format attracted yet more criticism at Sakhir after cars opted not to retake the circuit and attempt to improve their times towards the end of the three sections of the session.
Williams admitted to sending Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas back out late in Q2 unnecessarily in an effort to put on a show for spectators.
Teams and representatives from Formula One Management held more meetings in the paddock on Sunday in an attempt to work out a way forward with the format, but all parties were unable to agree on a way forward.
MN understands that the majority of teams were in favour of reverting back to the old qualifying format, but FIA president Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone vetoed it.
While a move to a hybrid format was also suggested – with Q1 and Q2 retaining the knockout element and Q3 going back to the 2015 style – teams will vote on an aggregate time system later as a possible solution.
The new system involves drivers setting two flying laps in each qualifying segment, with the aggregate time of the two counting. A similar format is already used in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
F1 teams will evaluate the proposal with a teleconference due tomorrow [Thursday] to deliver a decision of whether or not it can be used in China in a week’s time.
Red Bull Racing head Christian Horner said: “It’s a compromise and something we have to look at. No one likes the current system, so it is a step in the right direction.
“It has elements of the 2015 system, which is what teams prefer, but with the addition of each driver needing to do two laps.”
Regardless of the solution, Mercedes head Toto Wolff said the current system has to be dropped: “It’s difficult to follow and doesn’t mix the field up enough.
“We’re not in a position anymore, after changing twice, to experiment for Shanghai. We would look like fools. Maybe there is a different format that could be interesting, but we have to have all the data and make sure it is structured correctly.”
Qualifying has had empty circuits
Horner: in favour