Ecclestone wants ballots or ballast as new F1 qualifying

Bernie Ecclestone wants Formula 1 to have grids decided by a ballot, or introduce a 'time ballast' system, if elimination qualifying gets dumped after the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Despite a disastrous debut for the new knock-out format in Australia, a lack of unanimity about what changes should be made meant the system has been kept in place for this weekend.

F1 teams are due to meet with Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt ahead of the Bahrain race on Sunday to decide what to do next.

But speaking in the Sakhir paddock on Friday, Ecclestone said he had his sights set on two options: one being a random order and the other which guaranteed things being mixed up.

When asked by Motorsport.com about what qualifying system he wanted, he said: "A couple of ideas – either a ballot, which they [the teams] don't like, which is not very sophisticated.

"Or I suggest leave qualifying exactly as it is and don't touch it and then add a time on. So if somebody is on pole, you can take the results of the previous race or the championship, and add two or three seconds or whatever the amount is, to the time of the qualifying.

"You will find maybe the guy who is on pole would be 10th on the grid or eighth, and that will go all the way down."

Hamilton recovery

Ecclestone claimed that proof his 'time ballast' system would deliver exciting races came in Australia, when Lewis Hamilton fought back from a troubled first lap to finish second.

"He was sixth on the first lap and came through the field, and that is what would happen in every race," he explained.

"So all the racing would be like that – except there would be two or three of them coming through the field."

Unanimity issue

Despite concerns that Q3 will be as short of action in Bahrain as it was in Australia, Ecclestone thinks there is a chance it could still deliver some thrills.

Which is why he is unsure about what direction F1 will go next after the early season qualifying controversies.

"I didn't like it either, but we will have to see," he said. "All these things, when you change these things they are all prototypes until you have actually done it you don't know. But you can have opinions. It wasn't my idea in the first place. So we will wait and see."

He added: "You know why it was put together? The idea was hoping upon hope that one or two of the hot shoes would get knocked out in Q1 or Q2. That was the whole idea. And if tomorrow it is raining, maybe that will happen."

Ecclestone is also aware that the need for unanimity may make it hard for F1 to agree on what happens next.

"If we can get everybody to agree to change whatever, we can change."

But when asked about the problem of teams being motivated by self interest, he said: "Exactly. That is the problem with a lot of things. Two teams care about themselves. Not everybody."

Pushed on how to get rid of the bottle neck that the governance structure had imposed on F1, he said: "What normally happens is that there is a coup and they take over…."

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Series Formula 1
Article type Breaking news