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F1 Australian GP: Panned qualifying format set to be scrapped

The much maligned new F1 qualifying format looks set to be dropped after just one race, with a return to the 2015 format expected.
The much maligned new F1 qualifying format is set to be ditched after just one event following a crunch meeting between the FIA and team bosses, with a return to the 2015 format set to occur.

The new elimination format, which sees the slowest drivers drop out at 90secs intervals, was widely panned as teams appeared to misunderstand certain details in Q1 and Q2, while tactical moves by teams to do just a single run at the start of Q3 would see barely any action in the final eight minutes.

Indeed, with no driver on track with four minutes remaining and fans leaving long before the chequered flag dropped, though some drivers said it was quite exciting from the drivers' seat, many found watching it both too confusing and dull.

Suffering almost universal criticism and calls from several figures to change the system back to the popular knockout format, the FIA called a crunch meeting in Melbourne to discuss whether the new format can be salvaged.

Though it is understood the FIA was keen to tweak the current format, team bosses have pushed through with their desire to simply revert to last year's standard knockout format.

Subject to ratification, the format will be returned for the second round in Bahrain later this month.

The new elimination format - which was devised and agreed by the teams last month - is believed to have been introduced as a means of spicing up action to spur Saturday ticket sales. Despite this, the failure and immediate u-turn is a major embarrassment for the FIA at a time when it is known to be struggling to improve the image of the sport.
by Ollie Barstow

Tagged as: FIA , Formula 1

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Motorsport in 30 Seconds, 11th January 2017

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