Toto Wolff says the controversial – and seemingly shortlived – elimination-style qualifying format could be reviewed later in the year to see whether some of its more positive elements could be adopted going forward.
The much discussed format made its debut at the Australian Grand Prix, but was widely panned as being confusing for both teams and fans, while Q3 saw barely any track action as teams saved their tyres for the race.
Following a crunch meeting of team bosses and key stakeholders ahead of the race, it was unanimously agreed verbally that qualifying will return to its erstwhile knockout format, subject to confirmation and agreement from FIA president Jean Todt, who was not at the meeting.
Indeed, though it would take just one vote for the system to stay in place for elimination qualifying to remain, Wolff is confident there will be no opposition.
“I didn't speak to Jean Todt, I spoke to Bernie and heard his opinion about it and I think in hindsight all the teams have a pretty equal opinion about qualifying this morning and I think the F1 commission will listen to the teams' opinion, especially if it is unanimous.”
However, Wolff says there is a possibility the format could be revisited in the future – albeit after a review – if it is felt they could eliminate its fundamental flaws. However, he says this is unlikely to take place before the end of the year.
“I am sure there is a way to optimise it, but I think it needs time and structure, process and analysis in order to have the right decisions,” he said.
“I think it's an exciting format as long as you are capable of transmitting that in the right way onto the television, the spectator needs to be able to follow and the feedback we had is that it was very difficult. Either you watch the timing but you didn't look at the cars and it wasn't really clear who was in and who was out. And with Q3 we all have the same opinion that it was rubbish.
“I think you can optimise it, this is a global sport and we need to acknowledge that we have responsibility and changing the rules every week is not the right way forward. We've seen that it has good bits about it, the team's decision was to look at it next winter, maybe analyse what we can do to optimise it and then maybe come up with a solution that really works.”