Qualifying set to change again

It seems the current qualifying format of one session on Saturday afternoon and one on Sunday morning will be changed to just one session on Saturday. The current system has been unpopular since it was introduced at the beginning of this season,...

It seems the current qualifying format of one session on Saturday afternoon and one on Sunday morning will be changed to just one session on Saturday. The current system has been unpopular since it was introduced at the beginning of this season, as television broadcasters rarely show both sessions. Also, many people find the aggregate time system confusing.

"It is very important to have the grid sorted out on Saturday," said FIA president Max Mosley. "It irritates the public not knowing who is on pole. If you follow a particular driver and you know he's going to be on pole you might change your plans for Sunday."

"But on the other hand if you know he's at the back of the grid you might go and do something completely different. People need to know and it's no good telling them two hours beforehand."

Mosley hopes to get the new format in place for next weekend's European Grand Prix. "Now it's a question of whether we can get the world council to agree and the rest of the Formula One commission," he said. "I hope and think it's a formality and I'm trying to get it passed for the Nurburgring."

Qualifying, should the change be approved, will take place on Saturday afternoon and will be one session of individually timed laps. The running order will be decided by the results of the last race in reverse. Using Saturday's practice times was suggested to decide the order but that does not seem to be a workable solution.

"The basic principal is one mistake and you're out," said Mosley. "I think what a lot of people were talking about was taking the times form the free practice on Saturday morning and making that the order to go out in qualifying. Personally I quite like that but in the end we need to have something everyone agrees with."

Some suggest that the format may even revert back to the old system of everyone on track together by 2006. "I think the teams would love to go back to the original qualifying of four runs or as many laps as you like," Frank Williams told ITV.

"The laps may be restricted in the one-hour session on Saturday next season. But in an ideal world we still want to have the original style of qualifying free-for-all."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Williams