FIA President Jean Todt says he is convinced elimination qualifying is here to stay, albeit with tweaks to ensure it remains interesting for viewers and fans following its inauspicious debut in Australia.
Though it was agreed by team bosses to return to last year's elimination format following its much maligned outing in Australia, the FIA prevented teams from having that option when changes were proposed. As a result, the same session takes place in Bahrain.
However, Todt says the second running will ultimately determine how the sport proceeds going forward, saying tweaks to Q3 are on the table, with Pirelli set to agree to offer an extra set to prevent teams from setting just a single lap and sitting out the remainder of the final sessions.
“In my opinion Q1 and Q2 could be optimised. Why all this idea of changing? There was a complaint that in Q1 and Q2 it was too long before we saw the drivers acting, so the idea was for the fans and spectators, when they come to the race, they will see immediately the most competitive cars and drivers out, and that has been achieved.
“About Q3, clearly it was the biggest problem. There were a lot of opportunities, one was that we could have one more set of tyres and that would definitely improve the show.
“Another possibility was to take the first eight in the classification and the eighth in the classification goes and then when he is coming back the seventh goes out, so you would have one car on the track with unpredictable final results. I feel it was necessary to give one more chance to this frame of qualifying before simply reverting back to the 2015 regulations.
“We are in a world where there is too much overreaction. We must give a chance to things to be more understood.
“We wanted to change Q3 because we think that the biggest problem is coming from Q3. There is evidence that there is some good idea behind Q1 and Q2, so now after the qualifying we will meet tomorrow at midday with the teams, the commercial rights holder, an FIA representative, Pirelli and address what is the best thing from China, where hopefully we will get a unanimous agreement in the interests of the sport.
“I hope that the decision which will be taken tomorrow in light of the second qualifying under the new rules will be a decision that respects the fans, respects the media, respects the promoter and respects everybody and will be a big step forward.”