No immediate change to qualifying

No immediate change to qualifying

Despite the general lack of enthusiasm for the Saturday back-to-back qualifying format this year, it is still undecided if it will be changed or not. Team bosses met last week to discuss possibilities but for the immediate future at least, the ...

Despite the general lack of enthusiasm for the Saturday back-to-back qualifying format this year, it is still undecided if it will be changed or not. Team bosses met last week to discuss possibilities but for the immediate future at least, the system is set to stay. Many think the first qualifying session is pointless, as drivers are conservative when it's the second lap that really counts, and at around two hours, qualifying is now too long.

Patrick Head.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.

"I think everybody concluded that the whole process was too long and not really exciting enough," said Williams technical director Patrick Head. "It wouldn't be a problem to drop the first part of qualifying, which is supposed to be there to set the order in which you qualify for the grid in the second part."

"We would be quite happy to go for qualifying for our grid position according to either the finishing order of the previous race or the positions at that time in the championship."

Head would like to see the format altered in time for the Malaysian Grand Prix this coming weekend but that seems unlikely. It would need a unanimous vote to change the system and at the meeting some team bosses did not agree.

Others would be happy to go back to last year's option of the first session being held on Friday and the second on Saturday. Bernie Ecclestone wants the split-session format abandoned completely in favour of reverting to one hour with all drivers on track together, with 12 laps each.

There may be some minor changes to qualifying in the near future, suggestions being that the two-minute gap between sessions is extended and also television coverage may be limited to the second session as the first just isn't interesting enough.

The FIA wants to wait and see what happens, urging teams and fans alike to give the new format a chance. But if things don't work out, change will be considered. "It would be inappropriate to act until we have seen how it works over a few races," said a spokesman. "Once we've looked at it, and there is a consensus among the stakeholders in F1 and the fans, then we will consider the issue."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Patrick Head , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Williams