’Knockout’ quali for 2006?

UPDATE Ross Brawn and Patrick Head have been put in charge of solving the final stumbling block to a brand new 2006 qualifying format. In Brazil, the respective Ferrari and Williams technical men were asked in a bosses' meeting with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to canvass a solution to the thorny topic of 'race' or 'low' fuel.

In a nutshell, some teams insist that – with fuel tank size now signed off for their 2006 car design – switching back to a 'low fuel' qualifying format, such as the proposed 'knockout' system, will be to their disadvantage. Conversely, some teams may be pushing for the change as a result of their own tank design. ''I think (sorting out the fuel issue) could be done this weekend,'' BAR principal Nick Fry told the Autosport website.

09/24/05 Team bosses met at Interlagos on Friday to discuss a potential change in the qualifying format.

It is expected that the clan, led and organized by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, might meet again on Sunday in a late bid to overhaul the unloved single lap system of 2005.

Top of the 2006 shortlist is the proposed 'knockout' system, basically with the slowest five cars eliminated in stages. But bosses agree that – with the basis of 2006 cars already designed – race-levels of fuel will have to stay.

Others insist that it is now too late to make a substantial change for 2006, even though it is agreed that second Saturday practice – not the previous race – will determine the order for qualifying.

A particular proponent of the qualifying shake-up has been Renault's Flavio Briatore. ''He has put together a proposal,'' engineering deputy Pat Symonds revealed. ''It has certainly not been discarded out of hand, but we are close to running out of time.''

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