Date: 24th March 2016 at 9:12am
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It was thought that Formula One would revert back to the 2015 regulations for qualifying for the second race of 2016.

This was due to a massive U-Turn by the teams to dump the new elimination style qualifying that had been renownedly trounced by just about everybody.

Just a few short weeks ago, Formula One announced that it would be changing the format of qualifying.

Immediately the sport placed itself once again into a pointless and avoidable negativity spiral.

None of the fans wanted to see the change and despite unanimously agreeing it, it seemed none of the drivers or teams wanted it either.

The popular three main sessions of qualifying would remain, but a timed elimination process was added.

This would see action begin at the start of sessions, whilst also adding what Formula One hoped would be a bit of chaos and unpredictability to the grid in order to make the races more interesting.

Even during Barcelona winter testing the teams and Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone couldn’t agree on what to do. The new system was announced, then it was reported that it would only be introduced for Q1 and Q2 leaving Q3 with no changes, then Bernie said that the timings and graphics wouldn’t be ready in time and the new system would be implemented in May and then all of a sudden Formula One was back to implementing the new rules in Australia.

However it failed.

Whilst the new elimination format created chaos, none of it was on track. Logistically with a 90 second elimination clock, teams didn’t have enough time to get their cars back out to try and avoid elimination.

During Q1 this left cars setting fast times that wouldn’t count or just sitting in the garage watching a stop watch.

As the session went on there was less and less on track action, until the farcical scenes of Q3, which was suppose to be a pole-position shoot-out, saw no action for the final 5 minutes and all the drivers out of their cars before the session had even ended.

Despite a front-row lock out for Mercedes, team boss Toto Wolff branded it ‘rubbish’.

His fellow team bosses agreed and on Sunday morning they announced their intention to scrap it.

‘We made a mistake and will go back [to the old rules] for the next race,’ Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner Sky Sports.

‘We are usually a pretty dysfunctional group but there was absolute unanimity. he added.

But nothing in Formula One is ever simple and dumping of the new qualifying format will have to be officially ratified by the F1 Commission and World Motor Sport Council, but that’s unlikely as it doesn’t have the complete backing of the FIA and Pirelli.

They are considering an alternative plan which would see amendments to the elimination process.

Q1 and Q2 could see the eliminations remain, but with extended periods before the knock-outs, whilst Q3 would revert back to the old rules.

This is because Pirelli believe the elimination style qualifying did have an impact on the race due to the tyres used by the teams to avoid dropping down the grid.

?I think Q3 needed improving ? as not having cars running was unanimously seen by fans and the viewers as negative. But that could be easily be resolved by going back to last year’s Q3 running, so there is no elimination process.? Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery told motorsport.com.

He added: ‘I think the one thing that did come from qualifying here was that it had an impact on the race, which was the original motive as explained to us as F1 Commission members, There were things like stopping maybe the top teams trying to qualify on what would have been the soft tyre here in Q2, which would then have allowed them to start on the soft tyre in the race.

?Having no elimination, they would probably have gone out on the soft tyre, tried to set a time and then evaluated whether that would be sufficient to get them through. So you have to be careful.?

?We sat in one meeting and were given one argument that the change was due to a need to add an extra element to the race strategy. And it delivered that on many levels. If that is no longer required, then we need to hear the arguments.?

 

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