Ross Brawn says despite the four-part qualifying idea for Formula 1 being rejected for 2019 he’s eager to see discussions continue to improve the format.

Formula 1’s managing director for motorsports confirmed a vote was held to shake-up qualifying by splitting it into four parts, expanding the current three-session format, but the sport’s Strategy Group opted against the proposal.

Following an unusual qualifying situation in Russia, where five of the 15 cars in Q2 opted not to set a lap time which meant any driver which completed a lap automatically went into Q3, Brawn feels it was a timely reminder F1 needs to always aim to improve its entertainment and show value for fans.

“The qualifying format has now been well established for several years – apart from the unsuccessful experiment at the start of 2016 – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look at ways of improving it,” Brawn said. “Such as the idea recently put forward at the last Strategy Group meeting, to split qualifying into four parts rather than the current three.

“No agreement was reached on introducing it for 2019 but the seeds of discussion were planted, now we have to make sure they grow well.

COTA #2 - Tremendous Turn 1

“The Sochi weekend once again brought to the attention of spectators and those in the sport the topic of penalties. There were so many over the three days that the Chief Steward decided to put out a press release explaining how the grid had been decided.

“I think that all concerned have to consider the need to find a different solution to manage penalties relating to changing mechanical components in excess of the limits laid down by the regulations, so that it does not penalise the drivers and then spoil the show.”

In the Q2 session in Sochi, both Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo plus Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly did not set a lap time due to their back of the grid engine penalties while both Renault drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr preferred to secure P11 and P12 on the grid to get a free choice of tyres to start the race.

While the situation was largely brought about by a perfect storm situation – five drivers taking back of the grid engine penalties plus the serve tyre degradation difference between the Pirelli’s Hypersoft and its other tyre options – Brawn feels the whole situation underlined the need to improve the rules to keep fans engaged.

“It definitely doesn’t help, as we saw in qualifying on Saturday, when five of the 15 drivers didn’t take part in Q2 given there was no sense in running as many were going to start from the back of the grid anyway,” he said.

“It definitely is not good for the show when you see drivers braking a few metres from the finish line so as to not set a time good enough to get to Q3 and to have to use the tyres with which they set that time in Q2 for the start.

“Those of us who feel that Formula 1’s greatest asset is its fans, have to look at the rules to ensure they are comprehensible and produce the best possible show.”