Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has urged F1 not to pass up the opportunity to change the qualifying system again after the elimination format continued to receive staunch criticism from teams, drivers and fans in Bahrain.
Following its panned debut in Australia, team bosses had expected the FIA to give it the chance to revert back to the 2015 format, but the governing body only gave options to retain or tweak it. With teams split on these lesser preferred options, it couldn't reach the unanimity to change it at all.
As a result, the format was given a second outing for the Bahrain Grand Prix, but once again proved tricky to follow and ended with the cars finishing up in the pit lane before the chequered flag had been thrown.
For Wolff, he says the sheer complexity of the format is confusing enough for Mercedes with its data, let alone fans watching at home.
“It's unbelievable,” he said. “We are sitting in front of the screen with all this data and all these intelligent people on the pit wall, less intelligent in the garage -- where I sit with Niki, I mean -- and with all this data you can't follow it!
“You have guys jumping out of their cars even though they would have another three minutes to go, Perez on a quick lap with the time lapsed already, Wehrlein could have gone for one more shot but I don't think they realised that. Then at the end, when half of the guys jump out of the car and Q3 is still running, it's just without words.”
With F1 stakeholders meeting on Sunday to discuss the future of qualifying, there remains a potential impasse to overcome after FIA President Jean Todt said he wants to proceed with the format, albeit with tweaks. However, the consensus in the paddock after qualifying was to go back to the 2015 format.
“I think after today's Q1 and Q2, I don't see what you can like there. It's very difficult to follow who is in and who is out and I think we have a duty to simplify the sport rather than add complexity. It doesn't mix up the field in a way that makes the races more entertaining, so I hope we can have some reasonable discussions tomorrow.”
Should the necessary unanimity not be reached, Wolff was particularly candid about what would happen next…
“If somebody puts a block in the system to make us stuck we should publically crucify him in the paddock. Is that politically correct?”