3 April 2016
F1 Bahrain GP: Crunch meeting to decide qualifying fate but views vary
F1 stakeholders will meet to decide whether elimination qualifying stays, but while teams want a total reversal it is unclear if it will be tabled.
Toto Wolff and Eric Boullier have both expressed a strong desire to go ahead and ditch the elimination qualifying format and return to last year's system, but it isn't clear whether the sport's stakeholders will have the chance to vote on it at another key meeting to be held in Bahrain.
Following its inauspicious debut in Australia, team bosses had agreed provisionally to unanimously vote through a motion to revert back to last year's more popular format. However, the FIA refused to give it as an option – instead offering only a tweaked version -, which meant no agreement was reached and elimination qualifying remained for Bahrain.
However, despite FIA President Jean Todt's hopes it would be better second time around, the format was still heavily criticised on social media, as well as amongst teams and drivers, who are now saying enough is enough and that it must change back in the interests of the sport.
“I think it was worse, there were less cars on track,” declared McLaren's Boullier. “We only had a set of tyres in Q2 so you do your lap and sit in the garage, which is ridiculous. We took a position in Australia, we had a meeting, we unanimously agreed to go back to last year. We will stick with this position.”
Prior to qualifying, a meeting was already planned to take place at midday in Bahrain on race day between the F1 stakeholders, but Todt told the media he would rather retain the current format, albeit with tweaks, while Bernie Ecclestone has hinted he could push for a new format altogether, including time penalties or reverse grids rather than go back to the previous format.
“Let me tell you something, we've probably had 20 or 30 [ideas] since the last one, but anyway another won't make a difference
“I wanted to have qualifying just as it is, don't change it, and then simply add three seconds onto the qualifying times, so whoever is on pole and whatever the lap time is, add to that and all the other people who are second and third and you are maybe going to finish up with the pole guy in 10th place.”
A unanimous agreement will need to be reached before elimination qualifying can be changed.
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