Todt pushing for revised ‘hybrid’ elimination qualifying

A revamped form of the elimination qualifying format could yet be used for the Bahrain GP weekend, despite the teams voting to abandon the new system.

After the disaster of Australian GP a meeting of teams was held in Melbourne on Sunday morning, hosted by the FIA’s Charlie Whiting. It was unanimously agreed to drop the new system and revert to what was used in 2015 for Bahrain. Bernie Ecclestone was not in Australia, but backed the change, having always maintained that he didn’t like elimination.

However, at the start of the meeting both Force India and Williams had initially indicated that they would like to keep Q1 and Q2 in an elimination format, with Q3 as a ‘standard’ session with all cars in a position to run all the way through.

This idea was first suggested several weeks ago after the team managers and engineers had first had a proper chance to study the idea that the F1 Strategy Group had suggested.

Sources indicate that Jean Todt was not willing to accept this compromise and make a change to the plan that had come from the Strategy Group, and which then had to be voted on by the F1 Commission and World Motor Sport Council.

Ironically it appears that after the teams agreed to dump it completely Todt now supports the Williams/Force India route, and wants to have the hybrid system, rather than go back to 2015 style qualifying.

Any change at this stage has to be agreed unanimously by the Strategy Group (six top teams plus Todt and Ecclestone), then the F1 Commission (as before plus the rest of the teams, Pirelli and promoters) and finally by the World Motor Sport Council.

It would appear that Todt is hoping to force the compromise solution through in order to save at least some of the elimination format, with some tweaks to the timing of the sessions built-in as well.

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley suggested that the Sunday vote to drop the new format completely was an overreaction.

“Obviously it’s something of a knee-jerk reaction in some ways,” he told this writer. “I think we should have let the weekend go through and evaluate it. It was the whole purpose of what the changes were made for, it was about trying not only to spice up qualifying a little bit, which it certainly did in Q1 and Q2, but also from the point of view of what it was going to do in the race with the tyres and so on.

“Clearly Q3 didn’t quite tick all the boxes and needed to be looked at, but that was one element of it. I think we should have waited. A lot of thought had gone into it in the first place, and just to throw it out without following the whole process seemed to me just too hasty.”


Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

10 responses to “Todt pushing for revised ‘hybrid’ elimination qualifying

  1. jo6pacjo6pac

    Thank dawg they have come to an agreement to keep trying to ruin what is left of F-1. Is there any one in F-1 management with common sense?

  2. Mick

    Why wasn’t Todt there (on the phone) at the meeting to make clear his position and back up the teams who shared his view?

    I can understand the 2 teams caving in to pressure given the urgency to announce a position after the meeting, but having done so they shouldn’t have said differently afterwards.

    There would have been nothing wrong with announcing after the meeting that there will definitely be a change for Bahrain and it will either be a) revert to 2015 process or b) the hybrid Todt favours. Instead the sport just looks incompetent and any new viewers trying to get into F1 will be totally bewildered.

  3. Off Track

    We hear that sunday morning meeting agreed ‘unanimously’ to revert to 2015 quali rules. Then, we hear that Fearnley and doo dah, having voted, now want to go hybrid. Does not ‘unanimous’ mean everybody agreed? force India liked that they qualified 9th and 10th and so could start with whatever tyre they liked. Mr Fearnley should really see beyond that pathetic short-termism.
    Again: ‘unanimous’ means all agreed. Period.

    • A) He wasn’t personally in the meeting, it was for team managers, who were allowed to bring team principals B) Williams and Force India were obliged to vote with the consensus for the good of the sport after nobody listened to them. What else could they do?

      • Brian

        Adam – if they feel that they need to vote with the majority “for the good of the sport” then maybe for the good of the sport” they should keep their mouths shut afterward. What does it say about this process (stretches the concept a wee bit) that teems go into a meeting where (as pointed out) the announce “unanimous agreement” and then immediately afterward two teams come out and say “but not really”?

        What is it with this primal need to fiddle with everything within sight except the things that are actually broken or wrong?

        It occurred to me today that they way to do what they want (cars on the track all the time) without having this “musical chairs” joke/lunacy is to simply set Q1 and Q2 time lengths to 7 laps on whatever track they are one (6 + 1 for flex) plus time to do a decent pit stop. Done! Timed laps DO count even past the flag. So it’s warmup lap plus timed lap plus cool down lap plus pit stop. Repeat. Done. They are contorting themselves to try and stretch things to fill an hour by using countdown clocks and the like. Not necessary.

  4. R Martin

    Heaven help us. We have a “Strategy Group” who don’t seem to have any concept of thinking long and hard about what the sport needs, but rather decide in response to the latest fool-taunting invention of Mr Ecclestone to make up an alternative on the spot and recommend it for immediate implementation. We have a WMSC which doesn’t challenge any of the output of the Strategy Group, rather than have a mind of its own. We have a Commercial Rights Holder that, having paid next to nothing for the rights for a period that will certainly outlive anyone involved in the “purchase”, has no interest in the long term health of the sport but instead will take every opportunity to increase its revenues at the expense of the enthusiasts in the F1 heartland – even today guaranteeing a significantly smaller TV audience in the core UK market by allowing Sky to take exclusive rights from 2019 – and has as a key figure an octogenarian who some say have lost his magic touch…

    They ask the fans what they want and consider that, in itself, represents a job well done. And then they ignore the findings and put into place whatever hare-brained schemes they want to, announcing them before considering any of the implications. They don’t want to ‘undo’ any of the aerodynamic ills of the sport but instead decide that sonething that will make it even harder for cars to follow each other is exactly what F1 needs for 2017.

    And yet, despite all this idiocy and negativity, we had a great opening race. Let us hope for many more, and let us also hope for change at the top soon to some people who actually care about the current and future health of the sport.

  5. DaveM

    What is the bloody point of a ‘hybrid’ qualifying system? It should be consistent all the way through so it’s robust and fair. So either all ‘elimination’, all the old system, an hour’s qualifying session, or a one-lap system. This nonsense is only going to further lose viewers on tv and spectators at circuits, and drive more nails into F1’s coffin. And to be honest, part of me now just wants F1 to die. Enough is enough.

  6. I thought the whole thing was awful from start to finish & that Q1/Q2 was just as awful as Q3 was to the point where if any part of this elimination nonsense is retained I simply won’t watch qualifying anymore.

    • frederick amey

      Agree! Q1 and Q2 just created a crappy unpredictable result, making good laps for some cars not even count because some admin weenies decided that would be more exciting. Ugh. I guess my weekend will have some additional free time if these people don’t get it together.

  7. sperry04

    F1 logic:
    – “We want to ensure more cars on track during qualifying!”
    – Kicks cars off track during qualifying

    I can only surmise the real goal is to catch fast drivers out with the clock so they’re stuck behind slow drivers in the race. The problem is, fans are left watching an idle track because parking it is the proper strategy to succeed at qualifying once threats to your grid spot are eliminated or your time is up. Seriously, once everyone runs that first lap, there’s like 1 or 2 drivers left that need a faster lap time and have the time to do it. The bottom drivers can’t get around in time to improve, the top drivers don’t need to.

    Just go back to last years format. Really, the one and only change in the last decade that’s worked out is the knock-out qualifying. Why muck with it?

    And of course the better mid-pack teams want to keep the new format… they’re the teams most likely to be threatened by the guys that are getting eliminated early if allowed to run for the full session. Force India and Williams protests can be safely ignored IMO, especially after already officially agreeing to reverting to 2015 rules.

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