Sebastian Vettel says F1 hasn't covered itself in glory by declaring to fans it would changing the much maligned elimination qualifying format, only to retain it after all ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Ferrari driver Vettel was a vocal critic of the new format even before it made its debut in Australia and led calls to change it back to the former knockout format of 2015 after it was poorly received by teams and fans.
However, though teams provisionally agreed to do this, a failure by the FIA to offer it has an option in the subsequent vote – which required unanimity – meant no agreement could be reached. As such, the format stays as it is.
It is a move that has baffled Vettel, adding that F1 cannot be 'proud' of the way it has extended the fiasco to another race having promised it wouldn't to equally frustrated fans.
“I think I am as disappointed as everyone I know that we didn't go back,” he said. Let's put it this way, if you sell ice cream and you sell vanilla ice cream and everybody that comes to your shop is asking for chocolate ice cream and the next day you open you sell everybody expects you to sell chocolate ice cream but instead you decided to keep selling vanilla ice cream.
“Usually you do what your clients would like you to do and you are not really doing your job if you do the exact opposite. It's something we can't be proud of.
The move to block any qualifying changes came days after Vettel co-signed a scathing letter from the Grand Prix Drivers' Association aimed at the F1 powers, criticising the decision-making processes in the sport, including the one that led to the qualifying format.
Though he says the letter itself was clear in its intentions, he admits it was a call to consider how decisions are made rather than – at this stage at least – demand a particular change.
“I think it's right that you talk about certain things and some ideas are not as good as others. We had a lot of ideas that were quite bad and they didn't happen and we had other ideas that in the end were good and did happen.
“That is normal when you try to progress, but clearly if everybody is against something and you still decide for it – qualifying is just one example now – then something is not right. I think it's important not to pinpoint one person in particular, but I think it was clear for all the drivers what we think is wrong and we are happy to help in the future and hopefully kick off some progress on the point where we criticised.
“It's just to re-think what is currently happening. It's clear that if you write the letter it doesn't change overnight because it's also very difficult to give the ideal proposal. We didn't give a proposal, we just made clear that something is not right and something has to change..
“I think our intention was that we really question our current situation and decision making and hopefully improve that in the future.”