F1 teams agree elimination style qualifying for 2016

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Formula 1 teams have agreed to the introduction of a radical elimination style qualifying format as part of a move to improve the show.

After hours of discussion in Geneva between team bosses and F1 chiefs regarding future ideas, sources have revealed that some proposals gained support.

One of them is for an elimination style of qualifying, where the slowest car at certain segments is eliminated.

Although details of the new qualifying format have not been set in stone, sources have revealed that an outline agreement is in place for the system.

The rule change idea still needs approval by the FIA's World Motor Sport Council next month, but it is understood that the plan is to have it come in as early as this year.

The concept will now be looked at in detail by sporting directors - which could expose previously unforeseen problems that make it unworkable.

One team insider did suggest, however, that the change to the format would not actually be that big a revolution as it sounds.

"I'm currently struggling to see how this changes how we operate as the tyres are generally only good for one hard lap," he said. "So we won't be driving around on sub-optimal tyres."

How it works

An outline proposal for the elimination qualifying was discussed.

Q1

-16 minutes duration;

- After 7 minutes, the slowest driver is eliminated;

- Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag;

- 7 drivers eliminated, 15 progress to Q2.

Q2

- 15 minutes duration;

- After 6 minutes, slowest driver eliminated;

- Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag;

- 7 drivers eliminated, 8 progress to Q3.

Q3

- 14 minutes;

- After 5 minutes, slowest driver eliminated;

- Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag;

- 2 drivers left in final 1 minute 30 seconds.

Time ballast

The F1 Commission also discussed a penalty system whereby extra time is added to each drivers' qualifying time on the basis of championship positions.

A study was conducted using the 2015 Abu Dhabi GP with the championship leader having four seconds added to his qualifying time, with everyone else taking extra time on a sliding scale.

It is understood that this could have been combined with the elimination system, but it is not believed to have gathered the necessary support.

Bodywork delay 

Teams have also agreed to delay a final decision on 2017 bodywork rules until April 30, as teams chase a rules solution that will deliver a much-desired speed improvement.

Also discussed was the potential abandonment of the 100kgs fuel limit from 2017 on the basis that the faster cars will require more fuel to run at their fuel potential.

McLaren and Red Bull were reportedly in favour of such a move, but it was not passed. The more likely compromise will be a 105kgs limit.

 
Additional reporting by Adam Cooper
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