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Home > Sports > News > Reuters > Report


F1 looks for qualifying change

Alan Baldwin | March 13, 2004 16:04 IST

Formula One's much-criticised qualifying system could be tweaked for next week's Malaysian Grand Prix, despite team bosses failing to agree on a replacement.

Minardi owner Paul Stoddart told BBC radio on Saturday that Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone had presented team bosses with two options on Friday but neither was accepted.

"It missed out by a couple of votes. We'll just have to wait and see," he said.

Stoddart suggested a solution might be for Saturday's qualifying to be separated into two distinct parts with only the second one televised.

Ecclestone's options had been either to return to last season's format of qualifying on Friday and Saturday or to have just one shortened session on Saturday.

The present format, introduced for this season along with new engine regulations, involves two back-to-back parts with each driver doing one lap in the order of the previous race before running again, with the slowest first.

At last weekend's Australian season-opener it meant qualifying went on for nearly two hours, longer than the race, and was panned by broadcasters as well as some team bosses and drivers.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) has said, however, that it is too early to ditch the system and it should be given more time.

'ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE'

"It was absolutely terrible in Melbourne and we really have to do something about it," Jordan's director of business affairs Ian Phillips told the BBC.

"I don't think there was quite enough thought put into the options but we've got to move quickly. What we want is a cut down version of what we had last week"

Williams technical director Patrick Head added to widespread criticism of the format on Friday.

"I think everybody concluded that the whole process was too long and not really exciting enough," he said.

"It wouldn't be a problem to drop the first part of qualifying, which is supposed to be there to set the order in which you qualify for the grid in the second part.

"We would be quite happy to go for qualifying for our grid position according to either the finishing order of the previous race or the positions at that time in the championship.

"If that is going to happen, then it should be in place for Malaysia but all the teams have to agree. I sincerely hope it will be done immediately," added Head.

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