Wolff: F1 should "crucify" anyone who blocks qualifying change

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has cheekily suggested that anyone who stands against a push to get rid of elimination qualifying in Sunday's rules summit should be 'publicly' crucified in the Formula 1 paddock.

F1 teams, Bernie Ecclestone, Jean Todt and Pirelli will get together at midday in the Sakhir paddock to discuss what to do about the qualifying format for the remainder of the season.

There has been intense criticism of the new knock-out format that was rushed through for the start of this season, and there appear to be no supporters for it to remain in place in its current guise.

But in the wake of a failure to adjust the rules for Bahrain despite team agreement in Australia, there remains a danger that either tweaks to the format or a full revert to the 2015 concept may fail to get the unanimous support needed to change.

When asked about his feelings on the potential of someone standing alone and not accepting change, Wolff said: “If somebody puts a block in the system to make us stuck, we should publicly crucify him in the paddock…”

Ditch idea

With many observers suggesting the elimination format in Bahrain was even worse than its first outing in Australia, there appear to be even fewer supporters for the format.

However, FIA president Jean Todt said on Saturday that a number of options would be given to teams about changing things for the Chinese Grand Prix – including having extra tyres or a single-lap shoot out for Q3.

There appears to be a growing feeling, however, that with F1 having got it so badly wrong so far, that the only sensible outcome will be going back to the 2015 style of qualifying.

Wolff added: “When I spoke to Jean Todt last week, he said he wants to approach it in a structured way.

"He thought on Q1 and Q2 there was maybe something to learn, and therefore he would rather go for the Melbourne format or the hybrid version once again, to find out if it is all bad.

“And if it we realise it is all bad then probably the most realistic scenario is to go back to 2015 qualifying. He said that to me.

“We are not in the position any more that after we have changed it twice, to do experiments for Shanghai because we would look like fools.

“But maybe there is a different format that could be interesting. Today someone mentioned single lap shoot-out for last eight drivers, honestly I think that could be interesting.

“I remember FIA GT did this ten years ago. But I think we need to properly assess it and if we find out all the data and all the information we collected make it look like an interesting format then we should implement it in the rules and race it next year. But in a structured way.”

Strong opinion

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley concurred that the best thing for F1 would be to go back to last year's format, even though he feels that tweaks could make the elimination format work.

“I just think we have to wait for the meeting to find out,” Fernley told Motorsport.com. “There is quite a lot of very strong opinion that is unlikely to be swayed, but I think there will be something sorted out.

“I just think that you cannot keep reverting to something like the set-up we have today which we know isn't quite right. So something has to change.

“There is obviously no appetite to try to adjust the system as that has been voted against already, so at the end of the day you have probably only got one option – and that is to go back to 2015.”

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Bahrain GP
Track Bahrain International Circuit
Article type Breaking news
Tags wolff