F1 QUALIFYING IS FINALLY SORTED OUT
F1 reverts to 2015 format after teams unite and demand FIA change
Formula 1 will revert to last year’s qualifying system from this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix onwards, but the sport’s stakeholders insist new formats will be looked at again for 2017.
FIA president Jean Todt and F1 tsar Bernie Ecclestone last week submitted a proposal for the reintroduction of the 2015 qualifying format following a united stance from teams.
All 11 current teams wrote a letter to Ecclestone, Todt and commercial rights holder CVC Capital Partners last week, demanding the new elimination qualifying format be binned after dire showings in both Australia and Bahrain.
In the face of pressure from teams and drivers, Todt and Ecclestone issued a statement confirming they would back the move to reinstate the traditional Saturday format. Teams have also suggested that the race weekend format should be looked at for 2017.
The statement said: “At the unanimous request of the teams in a letter received today, Jean Todt, president of the FIA, and Bernie Ecclestone, commercial rights holder representative, accepted, in the interests of the Championship, to submit a proposal to the F1 Commission and World Motor Sport Council to revert to the qualifying format in force in 2015.
“This proposal, if approved by the F1 governing bodies, will take effect as from the Chinese Grand Prix and will apply for the rest of the season.
“Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone welcomed the idea put forward by the teams to have a global assessment of the format of the weekend for 2017.”
Speaking to MN’S sister publication Autosport, Ecclestone said: “People seem to forget what we are trying to do, which is muddle the grid up a little bit because what we have seen doesn’t make for much excitement.
“Lewis [Hamilton] has helped us a bit this season by not making good starts and having to come through the field, and Ferrari finally seems to have got its act together, so maybe things will change.
“Unless we can get everybody on board with regard to a new format then we are not going to find an answer. It’s as simple as that.”