Teams signal tentative approval for new F1 qualifying format

UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' as 100% of the team owners have now rejected the new format.

04/05/16 Team bosses have shown some tentative support for the revised qualifying format proposed by the FIA to be discussed and voted upon during another meeting between the F1 stakeholders on Thursday.

With elimination qualifying receiving another drubbing on social media by fans and by teams in the paddock during the Bahrain Grand Prix, a crunch meeting between FIA President Jean Todt, commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone and the team bosses took place ahead of the race but yielded no formal solutions.

However, one new idea was tabled with an aggregate format being proposed that will see a driver's two best times in each of the three knockout sessions combined to set the order.

Set to be discussed and voted upon during another meeting on Thursday, though the new format hasn't received a ringing endorsement from a selection of team bosses, it is receiving a more positive response compared with the current format.

"I think it is a vote yes, but to be honest we don't even know," declared McLaren's Eric Boullier, while Ferrari's Maurizio Arrivabene said 'it doesn't sound that bad'. Claire Williams has also suggested her support by saying it seems a well-thought out idea.

Teams had hoped to persuade the Todt and Ecclestone to simply revert back to the universally liked knockout format in place from 2006 to 2015, but both have made it clear this is not an option. Calling the situation a 'political mess', Toto Wolff alludes to various agendas still playing out despite the increasing scrutiny on the governing bodies.

"I think we have expressed our opinion and I think all teams have the opinion that we need to be coming back to 2015 but there are various agendas and the meeting this morning showed that it is not an easy one so I can't really help you. Last time I told you [we would go back to 2015 format], I was totally wrong…"

Regardless of initial opinion, the new format still requires unanimous support but if it proves to be the only alternative available to team bosses – or face elimination qualifying staying in place indefinitely – there is an expectation it will be passed this time.

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