Date: 4th March 2016 at 8:15am
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Over the past week Formula One has unofficially changed it’s qualifying rules for 2016 on three separate occasions.

After opting to change a qualifying format that was universally liked, for one that appeared gimmicky, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone then announced that the software required to run the new system and the graphics needed for the fans to understand what was going on wouldn’t be ready until May.

The fact that Formula One bosses know that to understand what is happening on track that graphics need to be clear for the television audience, is the first indication of a new complicated system.

The approved system would work as follows:

The current qualifying system of three sessions has proved hugely popular since its introduction in 2006.

In the past Formula One has had qualifying split over two days, changed to one day and at one stage was changed to just one lap.

All had issues of either not enough running time on track, or not enough excitement.

The current three session system ensures that every driver must complete three competitive laps to progress through to the pole position shoot-out, tyre regulation tweaks over the years has also ensured that drivers do partake in the final session and do not instead opt for strategy for the race.

The new qualifying format of Formula One will retain the current three sessions, but the timings and the eliminations will alter.

Instead of drivers being eliminated at the end of each session, drivers will be knocked out at 90 second intervals during each session.

Q1 will last 16 minutes and after 7 minutes the first elimination will be made with the slowest driver knocked out. From that point onward another driver will be knocked out every 90 seconds until the session ends.

Q2 will last 15 minutes with the remaining 15 drivers taking part. After 6 minutes the first elimination will be made with the slowest driver knocked out and again from that point onward another driver would be knocked out every 90 seconds until the session ends.

Q3 will consist of just 8 drivers instead of the previous 10 and the session will increase from 10 to 14 minutes.

After 5 minutes, 8th place on the grid will be decided with the slowest driver of Q3 eliminated. Then every 90 seconds another driver will be knocked out to make up the grid.

The idea is that it will add an element of unpredictability to qualifying.

But so far the only thing unpredictable is what tweak to the rule will happen next.

On Tuesday, it emerged that the new system could be changed again to eliminate the eliminations in Q3, but leave Q1 and Q2 with the 90 seconds knock-outs.

The situation has proved unpopular with the drivers.

‘We felt that it can definitely mess up the rules and for the fans it could be quite difficult to understand, It’s complicated for us already, so for the fans it will make things more and more complicated. We feel that the qualifying at the moment is really good and I don’t think there’s a reason to change that.’ Sergio Perez told Sky Sports following a meeting of the drivers with FIA race director Charlie Whiting.

‘I find it quite strange that there is a change to qualifying, I haven’t heard anyone complaining about it. I’m fine with whatever system it is but l don’t know what the point is.’ Valtteri Bottas added.

Two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso was also critical of Formula One bosses: ‘It is sad, I am sad. I am sad for the sport because it doesn’t look right from the outside when in one week we change the qualifying format three times. Well, we pretend to change, but no one ‘officialises’ anything,’