F1 has learned from qualifying fiasco, says Williams

Formula 1 teams have learned that they must take more time in the future to properly consider future rule changes following the debacle surrounding elimination qualifying, says Williams.

After heavy criticism of the new knock-out qualifying format used in Australia and Bahrain, F1 chiefs have agreed – following a unanimous request from teams – to revert to the 2015 qualifying format with immediate effect.

The furore and political fighting that surrounded the aborted attempt to run a new qualifying system, have, according to Claire Williams, been taken on board by teams and will hopefully prevent any potential repeat troubles in the future.

"I think that we have learned that we need to make more time to consider proposals that come to us – absolutely," said the Williams deputy team principal, during a media briefing to discuss her team's 2015 financial results.

"We don't want to play out scenarios like that in public. They should be done behind the scenes."

2015 relief

Williams was one of four teams that did not support a move by the FIA to tweak the elimination format ahead of the Bahrain GP, because it was not something the teams had asked for.

But now that the teams' request for reverting to the 2015 system have been accepted, she says there is a sense of relief.

This will not only prevent F1 facing fresh criticism in the short term, but will also allow F1 some breathing space to come up with a new qualifying format for 2017 that should work better.

"Williams is relieved that F1 is going back to 2015 [qualifying]," she said. "It is obviously what the fans want, I hope it is what the media wants, it is certainly what our partners want.

"I think it will give us a period of stability during which we can sit down with time to properly analyse what a potentially new 2017 qualifying system could look like. I think that is what we need – and what we need to do."

F1 teams have made the offer of trialling new ideas later this season in the event that the world championship battles are sewn up early.

But it is clear that there is a view that a shake-up of race weekend format should come for 2017.

"We have to look at race weekends, with the declining audience numbers both coming to watch us live but also turning on their televisions," added Williams.

"We have to look at the sport about what we are putting on on track and away from the track over a race weekend to make sure we are attracting and retaining the audience we have and engaging a new generation of fans to F1."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Williams
Article type Breaking news