F1 Racing

Qualifying format still an epic fail in Bahrain Grand Prix, change for next race likely

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Photo Courtesy: BY-SA 2.5/wikipedia.org

The controversial qualifying format is now up for review as it proved to be another failure for the second time at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

In a report that appeared on Yahoo Sports, one of the most vocal in his criticism of the new format is Mercedes Motorsports Director Toto Wolf, despite his cars finishing 1-2 on the starting grid. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will line up 1 and 2 in the grid during Sunday’s race.

“Did you like it more? It’s unbelievable,” Wolf said “I think after today’s Q1 and Q2 I don’t see what you can like there. It doesn’t mix up in the field that would make the race more entertaining. So I hope we have some reasonable discussions tomorrow.”

Formula 1 team bosses and other stakeholders including tyre supplier Pirelli, the governing FIA, and commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone will meet Sunday to discuss how to resolve the situation.

During the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago, there were no more cars running in the final three minutes of qualifying as racers opted to conserve their tires. This time around, teams decided to keep their cars in the pit with still five minutes left in qualifying,

For McLaren Racing Director Eric Bouiller, the qualifying in Bahrain was worst than Melbourne particularly in the second phase of qualifying.

“As far as we are concerned, having only one set of tyres on Q2 means you just do your lap and then you sit in the garage which is a bit ridiculous.” Bouiller said.

The new format was designed to add more excitement and create more action in the early stages and shake up the starting grid.

“I think we are not in a position now to do experiments in Shanghai because we would look like fools.” Wolf said.

FIA president Jean Todt is said to prefer a rolling elimination format for the first two stages of qualifying with an increase in the amount of track time before the elimination kicks in. Q3 will then see a revert to the old format where the top spots will be decided.

The Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA) called for a rule change after the Australian Grand Prix. They released a statement, signed by former world champions Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel, slamming the new format and called for a change in governance.

“I think it’s just not right when you have the last four minutes and nothing’s happening. That’s usually when people should be smashing lap times.” Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel said.

Photo Courtesy: BY-SA 2.5/wikipedia.org

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