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2016-03-25 06:45

MUSICAL CHAIRS: Even F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone wants the sport's new qualifying system to be axed. Image: AFP / Bars Larson

Paris - Formula 1's controversial and widely-panned new qualifying system will remain in place at the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix despite it being slammed as 'crap' by the sport's CEO Bernie Ecclestone.

The elimination system was introduced at the season-opening 2016 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in March but ended in farce as spectators were left staring at an empty circuit in the closing sections of the qualifying session.

Former world champion Niki Lauda said it was the "biggest nonsense" he had ever seen while Ecclestone called it "crap".

Full review later in April

However, www.autosport.com  claimed on Thursday that the format will remain unaltered in Bahrain before a full review takes place after the April 3 event.

Ecclestone told autosport.com: "They're going to do what I proposed, which is leave things as they are for this race in Bahrain. 

"After that we will then have a good look and decide whether what was done was the right thing to do, the wrong thing to do, does it need modifying, does it need scrapping?"

The decision was taken following a meeting of Formula One's Strategy Group made up of teams, the sport's ruling body, the FIA, Formula One Management, promoters, sponsors and other partners.

Ecclestone said: "As nobody knows what the right thing to do is, we've said we'll stay where we are and have a look after this race. 

"Then two races in we'll see, as it was a prototype, what was right or wrong. The teams didn't understand what they were doing either, which didn't help at all."

On Wednesday, former world champions Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel led calls for a radical rethink in Formula One, insisting that controversial changes were threatening the sport's very future.

The two drivers put their names to an open letter from the Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA) describing technical and sporting changes are "disruptive".

They also blasted the world championship decision-making progress as "obselete and ill-structured".


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