FIA agrees to original elimination qualifying plan for Melbourne

Formula 1 plans to go ahead with the original proposal for an elimination-style qualifying system from the Australian Grand Prix, despite claims from Bernie Ecclestone it could not be done in time.

FIA agrees to original elimination qualifying plan for Melbourne

F1 teams and chiefs originally backed the idea of a revamped qualifying system from the season-opener in Melbourne, after the new format received support at the Strategy Group and F1 Commission.

However, just a few days after the vote, Ecclestone revealed that the new system would have to be delayed because his company could not get the timing systems done in time.

But at a meeting of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council in Geneva on Friday, a decision was reached to ratify the original proposal.

It is understood that decision came following fresh consultation with FOM, which resulted in assurances that the systems could be readied.

Q3 tweaks

Although an alternative qualifying proposal was agreed earlier this week with team managers – featuring elimination in Q1 and Q2 but the old format in Q3 – without approval from the Strategy Group and F1 Commission, there was no way for this to be introduced in time.

The FIA World Motor Sport Council is only able to approve or reject rules put in front of it – it cannot amend them.

The new system will result in drivers being knocked out at regular intervals throughout qualifying, with Q3 ending up in a final shoot-out between two drivers

How it works

The original plan is:

Q1

-16 minutes duration;

- After 7 minutes, the slowest driver is eliminated;

- Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag;

- 7 drivers eliminated, 15 progress to Q2.

Q2

- 15 minutes duration;

- After 6 minutes, slowest driver eliminated;

- Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag;

- 7 drivers eliminated, 8 progress to Q3.

Q3

- 14 minutes;

- After 5 minutes, slowest driver eliminated;

- Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag;

- 2 drivers left in final 1 minute 30 seconds.

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