Changes to qualifying scrapped

Changes to qualifying scrapped

The proposed changes to the qualifying format were scrapped at a meeting of the F1 commission at London's Heathrow Airport today. Team bosses had -- in some cases reluctantly -- agreed to change the current system of two individual timed laps to...

The proposed changes to the qualifying format were scrapped at a meeting of the F1 commission at London's Heathrow Airport today. Team bosses had -- in some cases reluctantly -- agreed to change the current system of two individual timed laps to a shorter, one-hour format where all drivers would go out on track together in two 25 minute sessions.

Bernie Ecclestone.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.

"The FIA did not want to go ahead with the qualifying that is being proposed," Bernie Ecclestone told Reuters. "It will stay the same as we've got now. No change at all -- just as boring as it was before."

The FIA vetoed the new idea, arguing that some teams and sponsors were concerned about a lack of television coverage, as broadcasters would focus on the bigger teams. "There was also a feeling that the proposal wasn't much different to what we were doing in 2002 and maybe it needed something a little bit more radical," said FIA president Max Mosley.

Mosley added that some market research would now be done to ask the public what they want. "Probably through the television companies, but that's a matter for Bernie (Ecclestone)," he said. "I think he would prefer to change but I think he's quite easy about it."

Jaguar chief Tony Purnell admitted he was confused by the situation after today's meeting. "We announced a change, everybody agreed to it and now we've suddenly had it stopped," he said. "I'm bemused by it. I think it's bad for Formula One, it sends a bad message out."

"Bernie was the prime mover and I was a bit surprised that he didn't seem very passionate about keeping it. I'm a bit lost by it. I'm mystified."

Reportedly Minardi boss Paul Stoddart was worried about a return of the 107% rule, where cars have to be within that margin of the pole time or fail to qualify. He believed that with some races it would be difficult to comply with the rule under the proposed system.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Paul Stoddart , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Minardi