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FIA to decide on F1's new qualifying format

2016-03-03 08:03

MORE TIME NEEDED: Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne says Ferrari chief Sergio Marchionne claimed more time is needed to understand F1's proposed qualifying format. Image: AFP / Jewel Samad

Barcelona, Spain - The format for a revolutionary new qualifying system for Formula 1 Grands Prix will be decided on Friday (March 3) after a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) confirmed on Wednesday.

A new knock-out qualifying format for the upcoming 2016 season had been adopted at a meeting of the F1 Commission last week in Geneva.

Complaints raised

However, a new meeting took place at the second pre-season test in Barcelona on Tuesday between team bosses and FIA race director Charlie Whiting after complaints were raised at the measures adopted.

The idea remains to introduce more excitement to the sport after two years of domination by Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes.

Yet, there are concerns that the technology needed to introduce the complex system, whereby the slowest driver would be knocked out at 90-second intervals, may not be ready in time for qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix on March 19.

Ferrari chief Sergio Marchionne claimed "more time to understand the change" was needed, whilst McLaren's two-time world champion Fernando Alonso said the system would "provoke migraines."

The proposal would see qualifying split into three segments.

The first segment will last 16 minutes and after seven minutes the slowest driver will take no further part in the session. Every 90 seconds thereafter, the slowest driver will be knocked out until there are only 15 drivers remaining.

A 15-minute second segment follows a similar pattern with the slowest driver eliminated after six minutes and then a further driver knocked out at 90-second intervals.

The final segment will last 14 minutes with knockouts beginning after five minutes and continuing until the two final drivers are left to fight it out for pole position.

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