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New Formula E qualifying promises "authenticity" in future results

Formula E's new knock-out qualifying system will lend more "authenticity" to its results, with teams and drivers praising the "fairer" format ahead of its first run-through for the Diriyah E-Prix.

Cars in action on track

Photo by: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images

The much-maligned group system, which often rewarded the drivers placed in the fourth group - populated by the drivers lowest in the championship - was considered to be too unpredictable and was unpopular among the field.

To address this, Formula E's new knockout system will now consist of two groups at the start, but the drivers will be allowed to do multiple laps with tyre changes within a 10-minute time-frame.

The top four from each group will progress to the "duels" stage, which is a knock-out tournament format that will eventually lead to a final battle for pole position.

Jaguar team principal James Barclay felt that the changes would prove that Formula E didn't need "artificial" rules changes to create exciting racing, although added that the championship should be open to tweaks if there are any minor problems with the format.

"I think we'll see more authenticity coming out in the results," said Barclay.

"I think we will see, though, is that we didn't need to artificially manufacture anything. And I think we have a sport now, you look at the quality of the drivers, the teams, the technology and the equipment we're putting on track.

"And we saw the Valencia times, two tenths were separating nearly 18 cars. So we don't need anything artificial. I think true sport isn't about having anything artificial. So it's a move towards that, which I think is important."

Reigning champion Nyck de Vries added that the changes will add more consistency to the drivers who make it into the upper grid slots, and is "curious" to see how his Mercedes team's approach differs from other teams.

"I certainly believe it will introduce more consistency and stability," said de Vries.

"I'm definitely in favour of the changes but at the same time, we still need to discover how practically it will unfold.

"Obviously everyone has done their homework to prepare these changes, and we are curious to find out what other people's approaches are and their philosophy to the changes."

A view of the pitlane

A view of the pitlane

Photo by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images

Although the change in format reduces the difficulties in qualifying for the top teams, traditional backmarkers NIO 333 and Dragon are expected to lose out in the process.

NIO 333's Oliver Turvey and Dragon's Sergio Sette Camara agreed with that suggestion, but Turvey explained that although the changes will hurt his chances in the short-term, the new qualifying will ultimately prove a benefit for the championship.

"We've got to see but in theory, it will make life harder," said Sette Camara.

"Just on paper, because tracks are improving through the sessions. And now there won't be that factor anymore. So maybe it doesn't change anything. Maybe it will penalise us, but I don't think it will help us."

Turvey added: "Last season, we had quite often the group for track advantage so that played into our hands a few times.

"I think this year, it will be a bit more challenging in the two groups. And also the longer session, there's more laps, everyone's not just a single lap.

"So I think it will be a bit more challenging, but equally so, I think it's a good thing.

"We need to not just rely on the groups situation, I think we as a team wanted to earn our position.

"If we qualify well, we want it to be earning that position. It's going to be exciting."

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