F1 set for qualifying revamp decision

F1 will finally find out later on Friday what qualifying format will be in place for the Australian Grand Prix, following a meeting of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council.

Plans for a shake-up of qualifying have turned into a fiasco after an idea to introduce an elimination style format fell through because timing systems could not be prepared in time.

Then, Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne called for fresh talks on the matter after claiming that both his team and other outfits were now not in favour of the change.

Although Ferrari's change of heart could not be used to block the original rule, it was subsequently agreed by teams that a tweaked system should come into force, with a knock-out format used only in Q1 and Q2.

But due to that system requiring a change to the wording of the regulations originally approved by teams, it meant that the revised rules would in theory have to go back through the Strategy Group and F1 Commission for approval.

Qualifying limbo

There has been no confirmation that that has happened, which has left the state of qualifying in limbo for several days, with the Australian GP taking place in just a fortnight's time.

Friday's meeting of the WMSC is in theory the last chance that there is for F1 rule changes to get approval prior to the start of the season.

So unless the tweaked rules can get fast-tracked through the Strategy Group and F1 Commission channel, it may be that the WMSC will not even get as far as changing qualifying at all for now, meaning the old system stays in place for a while.

The WMSC can then only approve the original version - with elimination throughout - or reject it and stick to the old system.

As well as the team uncertainty, F1 drivers made it clear to F1 race director Charlie Whiting in a meeting on Wednesday that they were not happy with such a late change to the format.

Alonso backs rivals

Former world champion Fernando Alonso was not in that meeting, but said he backed the idea of keeping the current format.

"I was not in the meeting, but any of the things that my mates will say I will agree completely," he said.

"It is a unanimous thing: we want a simplicity on the rules and even the one lap format, super pole, that we did before, was quite spectacular.

"Everyone had one lap television coverage and it was simple. You do one lap, you brake late, you start 15th if you miss one corner, and it is some adrenaline on that lap as well.

"But whatever they decide, we will go for it as we did for the last 16 years."

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Australian GP
Track Albert Park Circuit
Article type Breaking news