Formula 1 has reshaped its qualifying format again for the 2016 season opener in Australia having initially delayed the new knockout procedure until the Spanish Grand Prix.

The elimination format voted for by the F1 Comission last week had initially been knocked back until May but a new style has been forged by adopting the knockout format for the first two qualifying rounds before reverting to the previous format for the final session to decide pole position.

Effectively, Q3 will remain the same albeit with eight instead of ten drivers. Q1 and Q2 will adopt the new knockout format when a driver with the slowest time is eliminated every 90 seconds.

The change means eight drivers will progress into the final 12-minute stage shootout to decide the first four rows of the grid.

The new format received a mixed review from drivers at pre-season testing in Barcelona but Bernie Ecclestone confirmed last Saturday the new elimination format would be delayed until the fifth race of the year as the required software system would not be ready in time.

Ecclestone says he isn't a supporter of the new qualifying format but has confirmed the style will stay in Formula 1.

The revised qualifying format will be put to the World Motor Sport Council on Friday for an official confirmation.

The 2016 curtain-raiser is just over two weeks away with the Australian Grand Prix being held on the 18-20 March.