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F1 Australian GP: 'Bernie says we got it wrong' – Wolff

'I think we got it wrong', that's what F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone told Mercedes boss Toto Wolff following the new elimination-qualifying fiasco in Australia
Bernie Ecclestone has said Formula One got it wrong with the new elimination-qualifying format.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff discussed the shambolic scenes with F1's supremo following qualifying in Australia - and the Austrian then admitted the format was too complicated and confusing, having earlier labelled it as 'pretty rubbish'.

Asked what Ecclestone said about quali, Wolff replied: “I think we got it wrong”.

“Nobody tried to really damage the spectacle in qualifying on purpose,” Wolff added. “The basic idea of having a shootout and making it very exciting that every 90 seconds someone drops out, could trigger results that give a certain variability and mean that a favourite gets it wrong. So the basic concept was not completely stupid.

“As with many things, the devil lies in the detail and we've seen today that we actually complicated things in the time where we should simplify them.

“There was periods when no car was running and we saw that at the end and it wasn't really exciting. Everybody has an opinion and I doubt if there is somebody in the room who thought it was great.”

Quizzed on if it can be changed for the next race in Bahrain, Wolf said: “I think that should be the target.”

If there is change though, it is not simply just a case of reverting back to how it was in 2015.

“There are two perspectives. One is that we actually had a qualifying format that was pretty okay and in order to spice things up this is where we ended up. The obvious change is to go back to what we had before, it's in the regulations, but if we were to invent a different format we need to think carefully about what that should be. We shouldn't close our eyes to trying to make the spectacle better, I think that is important, but it should be a thought through process.”

He also believes that the teams will unite to see the elimination format quickly dropped.

“I think if all the teams were to come together and say this was a unanimous opinion, I think we have a pretty good chance in getting it through. I doubt there would be anybody who would raise their hand and be in favour of the new qualifying.

“We need to do it very quickly [as well] in order to reinstall the old format or whatever format in time for Bahrain [in two weeks].”
by Rob Wilkins

Related Pictures

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16.04.2015 - Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director and Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of FOM

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March 19, 2016 1:23 PM

Er, yes Bernie. Of course the fact that countless ignorant F1 viewers could see this all coming in advance should be discounted - as you discount all the other considered criticisms.

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