F1 qualifying fiasco is 'madness', says Wolff

Formula 1's ongoing failure to sort out the mess surrounding its qualifying format has been labelled as 'madness' by Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff.

Bernie Ecclestone, Jean Todt and the teams met on Sunday morning in Bahrain to discuss how best to move on from the elimination format which has been universally criticised.

But despite teams wanting to revert to the 2015 qualifying format, that idea is being vetoed by Ecclestone and Todt, who insist the sport cannot go back.

Instead, they are now pushing for an aggregate type system, whereby a drivers' qualifying time will be based on his two best laps in each session.

Wolff, who over the Bahrain weekend suggested that anyone blocking abandoning elimination qualifying should be crucified, appears exasperated by what has been going on.

"A simple explanation?" he said when asked about why F1 cannot agree on a qualifying format. "Madness."

Hidden agendas

Many F1 insiders believe that the mess over qualifying is being used to support various political agendas of Todt and Ecclestone, who it is suggested are using it as part of a battle of wills with the teams.

Wolff said that he believed that 'agendas' were at play in the situation, especially because the teams were unified about what should happened.

"We expressed our opinion," he said of the meeting. "All the teams had the same opinion that we probably need to go back to 2015.

"But there are various agendas and [this has] proved that it is not an easy one, so I cannot tell you [what will happen]. Last time I told you, I was totally wrong."

Not needed

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has said it is too early to predict whether or not everyone will accept the aggregate system, with a decision due to be made by Thursday.

But he has questioned whether or not F1 needs to be playing around with qualifying at all judging by the exciting racing so far this year.

"Let's see what happens," he told Motorsport.com. "The FIA are going to circulate some draft regulations, let's take a look at those and then we will make a decision on the vote.

"But with two samples of pretty decent races...do we really need to mess around with qualifying too much?"

Horner also pointed out that the need for jumbling up the grid had also been weakened by the fact that the new clutch regulations at the start was mixing things up off the line any way.

"I think that one of the big uncertainties has been the starts, and the single lever seems to have made a bit of a difference," he said. "That will undoubtedly smooth itself out as people refine it, but let's see."

Ferrari support

Ferrari had been reluctant to accept the introduction of elimination qualifying earlier this year, but team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has expressed some support for the aggregate times idea.

"We had this long meeting and a door is opening now," he said. "We need to work on the proposal of the FIA.

"Everybody understands that this format is not ideal. We need to talk and to work on the proposal that they gave to us, that it doesn't sound that bad."

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes
Article type Breaking news