Farce as elimination qualifying stays for Bahrain

The elimination qualifying system is set to remain in place for the Bahrain GP after all following a bizarre twist of events in the last few days.

After the teams agreed to dump it completely and return to the 2015 format – seemingly with the support of Bernie Ecclestone – it appears that Jean Todt led a move to introduce a hybrid system, with elimination in Q1 and Q2, and Q3 as per 2015 with all cars running together.

This had been mooted several weeks ago after race engineers and team managers suggested that there would not be much activity in Q3.

It was this proposal which went to the F1 Commission for a fax vote today, rather than any proposal to abandon it. Unanimity is needed for any changes to this change and since no agreement could be found under the rules there is no choice but to go back to the elimination format, exactly as used in Australia.

It would appear that it is being given one more chance ahead of further possible changes for China.


Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

27 responses to “Farce as elimination qualifying stays for Bahrain

  1. Off Track

    Clearly old Steptoe has gone stark raving mad, and so have Todt and all the principals and managers toeing the line.
    I would love all the drivers to refuse to take part as a unified body until this dismal governance of the sport is addressed [fat chance]

    • petes

      I would too. We won’t see it happen though because there will be entrenched (mis)respect by drivers for their Team Owner/Principal. Williams is a classic point, for example. Not too hard to find others…..

  2. Mick

    Farce indeed! Quite a week for F1 with this and the announcement of the end of free F1 tv coverage in the UK. I really think the teams and long term major sponsors need to protest very loudly and publicly now about the way both sporting and commercial management of the sport has gone wrong.

    The big players in the sport must surely look again at the idea of setting up an alternative championship without Bernie & CVC when the current deal ends in (2020?)

    Bernie’s business model of squeezing maximum cash from pay per view TV rights and deserting classic race venues for new one’s with no fans but deep pockets won’t work long term.

    My alternative F1 would be along the lines of..

    a) the sport pays tracks to host a race but manages the event and takes ticket and merchandise revenue. Classic tracks will be protected and spectator figures high. Reach out to new venues that are important to sponsors and not just the ones that pay the most.

    b) make race weekends 2 days. It will keep costs down and help with logistics and a busy calendar.

    c) Day 1 – a 2 hour practice session and qualifying. Day 2 consists of 2 races – a 15 lap sprint on a single set of tyres. No strategy or management just hard racing. Result of race 1 is the grid for longer race 2 (approx an hour) but cars carry extra weight penalties the higher they finished. Not silly reverse grids, but just enough penalty to stop them pulling away easily and make overtaking slightly easier

    d) guaranteed TV coverage on a free to air channel of the full race (even if it is delayed with live coverage on pay TV)

    e) much better use of social media / youtube. Freedom for teams, drivers & sponsors to put video content out after the event. Possibly low cost pay per view without subscription via youtube / netflix a short time after live coverage

    f) cut spending on invisible areas which don’t substantially benefit the manufacturers in developing road relevent technology. Ban simulators. Ban much of the collection of live telemetary used by the armies of strategists trying to plan pit stops and engineers trying to stop the cars breaking down mid race. (Races were better when a back marker sneaked points due to late retirements.)

    g) cut spending on in season development. Do we care that top teams have a new front wing design at every race? Maybe have a token system for aero – teams start with a range of high / med / low downforce packages to suit different tracks but can only bring additional updates x number of times a year

    h) specify the person running the sport must be under 80.

    I can but dream. I fear my 30 year enjoyment of F1 will end in 2 years with no reprieve!

    • petes

      Sponsors would be the weak link, or the strong one depending on your POV.
      Sponsorship money is hard to come by and they certainly won’t be getting bang for buck under the present/proposed system.

    • A well thought out plan! Now we need to find someone 79 or younger for the job…

    • anon

      Mick, with regards to your remarks about the collection and processing of live telemetry – if anything, that technology has far more immediate technological application on the road than much of the technology being developed on the current cars.

      Have you heard of the eCall initiative by the European Union? The idea is that, from 2018, all cars will be constructed with a system for automatically contacting the emergency services if a severe crash is recorded by the sensors on board.

      As part of that process, the sensors on the car would be used to collate information on the location of the crash site, along with the impact forces and potential injuries that the occupants of the car might have therefore sustained, and then send that information directly to the emergency services as they travel to the scene of the accident. In essence, the idea is not only to significantly cut the response time for emergency crews but to help the response crews judge what sort of situation they are dealing with before they have even reached the crash site.

      It is an area where the current telemetric systems in use in F1 would potentially be very well suited to effectively capturing and transmitting just that sort of accident data to the emergency services. However, despite the clear potential for adapting that technology for wider public use, it seems to be the one area where people automatically dismiss it out of hand – almost as if, because they cannot physically touch it, they assume it cannot have any relevance to a road car.

    • Steve Wyant

      Oh, sponsors will eventually have their say. They’ll just go away.

      • The sponsors, particularly the B2C ones, have already voted with their wallets. Apart from Ferrari and Mercedes, every other top team has lots of empty sponsor space, and the back of the grid teams like Manor have a LOT of space. Sponsors are not impressed with the value proposition, and every additional Pay-TV deal or stupic statement along the lines of “we only want to appeal to Rolex buyers” will make the situation worse.

  3. Nigel

    The whole ‘elimination’ qualifying was awful, Q3 was just the worst part. 99% of fans hate it so…..shaking my head.

  4. Robert McKay

    Am I allowed to say something entirely in capitals? Heck, let’s try it and see.


    There, that’s got that off my chest, for today anyway.

  5. Bobdredds

    I wont be watching qualifying as long as they use this stupid system. It undermines the benefits of the strategies available under the new tyre rules. It needs to go, there was nothing wrong with qualifying in the first place. While they are at it they can bin DRS as well.

  6. frederick amey

    I’m about ready to give up on F1. Been watching since 1967. Was the message from the teams and the fans not clear? The old qualifying process was fine. The timed elimination sucked. The management of the sport is a shambles. Its not the manufacturers or the teams, its the people trying to jazz it up while still sucking all the $ they can from it. Leave the sport alone, and make it free to view and commercial free worldwide, and the audience will once again grow. Think how pleasant it is to watch a soccer match, sans commercials. All other forms of sport in the US are chopped to pieces with repetitive, mindless commercials that drive people to tune away. Fix that, don’t fiddle with meritocratic selection on the racing side.

  7. Brian

    So, unanimity is required to change anything now and the two teams who “like” the new, ridiculous format are both Mercedes clients. Hmmmm.

    • grat

      Actually, the two teams who voted against it are McLaren and Red Bull, so there goes that conspiracy theory.

      But my personal take is that this is a political move by RB and McLaren. The FIA/FOM introduced a poorly thought out qualifying scheme, which backfired. To save face, they decided to railroad the teams into accepting the hybrid format (new Q1/Q2, old Q3), and sent out a proposal that they felt the teams would have no choice but to accept.

      But with all the anger at the FIA/FOM right now, combined with the letter from the GPDA calling out F1 leadership for being pinheads, by voting against the new proposal, McLaren and Red Bull ensure that we keep the worst possible qualifying format for one more race– and FIA/FOM look even worse, increasing the pressure on FIA/FOM to restructure how F1 is governed.

      Just a theory, mind you….

      • Brian

        Yeah, I thought (and posted) that before the followup admission by the two teams. And I must say that I cheer them for taking that position. I’m not sure that I concur with your theory’s motivation but I do like that they refused to play along with the charade. Hopefully their action is based in an “enough is enough!” position and is not yet one more underlying “what’s in it for us?”, Machiavellian plot move. But then this *is* F1 so…

  8. R Martin

    Individually: (some) brilliant minds. Collectively: IDIOTS.

    The little Frenchman has to go. Swiftly followed by the little Englishman and his money-and-soul-syphoning friends at CVC. And then, let the new F1 order try to salvage something from the ruins of a once great sport…

  9. Wow. They couldn’t have proved the GPDA’s point better if they’d tried.

  10. DW

    It’s up to us to switch off … go dark on F1 new sites, no comments anywhere about anything F1 for a week or two, leave or unlike the social media pages of teams, drivers, suppliers, and F1 related pages.

    Let’s trend #nomoref1forme

    • GeorgeK

      Sorry DW, like watching an impending train wreck, I can’t avert my gaze.

      And as stupid and counterintuitive as the current Q is, I have confidence that it will eventually be corrected. Revoked? Improved? We’ll have to wait and see.

      And regardless of who started where or how they qualified, the Oz race was great to watch with the Ferrari’s giving the MB’s all they could handle.

      Can’t disagree with anyone who says enough is enough, but personally I can ride it out for the season and see how it all ends up.

      • I luv chicken

        The Australian GP was a bit of a perfect storm, if what was commented on
        by announcers is true. Only that The MB clutch system is delicate for extra starts. Ferrari was able to jump ahead on the second start.
        Sort of a perfect Ferrari storm.

      • Brian

        It’s almost as if there is a behind-the-scenes bet amongst all the F1 power players to see who can come up with the most efficient way of alienating the most constituencies as quickly as possible. Then there’s the side bet re: who can come up with the best way to make the sport look foolish to the most people around the planet. THEN they argue over how “my way *would* have been better at making us look like idiots if you’d only given it a chance!”

        It’s abundantly clear that no matter what *anyone* outside of that group says or does (fans, drivers, sponsors, investors, etc.) the boneheads will just go merrily on their way; their bubble is sound-proofed and lined with a one-way mirror.

      • peterg

        I too don’t believe this is the end of the F1 world. And while I will be happy when they drop it, it was a trial/novelty to see if the grid order could be spiced up.
        Turns out it produced a Mercedes front row and both Ferrari behind them on the second row, hardly unique.

        Now if somebody could get both Mercedes to botch their front row starts for the rest of the season……..

  11. Wallace

    Bernie is a geriatric who has no business in this sport. He is out of touch and completely out of his depth. He only shadows everyone else’s opinions and has no intellect to make any of his own that work. When he comes out with any they are the most ridiculous ideas and when his own pea-brained schemes don’t work he blames everyone else around him. Sack him now. We need a young dynamic leader of F1 going forward to appeal to the next generation of viewers. Bernie even said that “F1 doesn’t need young fans” and “he wouldn’t pay to take his own children to watch an F1 race”. If a manager in any other industry belittled their own product like this they would have been dismissed years ago. News Flash: There is no Ferrari and Mercedes mafia calling the shots, as Bernie tries to convince everyone, there is just no sensible leadership talent which these important manufacturers respect. If there was someone in charge they respected there would be a lot less friction and more stability going forward #binbernie

  12. peterg

    Brian, back in the glory days Max Mosley/FIA would propose a radical change to the sport, the teams would set their collective heads on fire and run around like headless chickens…….and then Bernie would step in with an entirely different solution – that just happened to be the one that he and Max has already agreed on privately.

    Classic misdirection, look shiny object!!

    I believe it was the late Ken Tyrell who said, that when it came to a F1 team owners meeting, there was a greater chance of them electing a new Pope than anything productive for F1.

    • Brian

      I was there in those “glory days” (and quite a few years before – I had contemporary Road & Track centerfolds of Clark, Hill, and Gurney on my wall when I was in junior high school (age 12-14 for you non-Yanks)) so I’m fully aware of how the Max & Bernie Show worked. But now it’s just “The Bernie Show” and it’s kind of like watching an old vaudeville act that’s not nearly as amusing as it was in its proper context. See “Norma Desmond.” :-/

  13. ecurie415

    For the first time that I can remember, I shut off the TV and stopped watching qualifying. I have been a fan of the sport since childhood, and I cannot remember being less entertained (aside from Indy in 2005). For anyone who is in a position of leadership to suggest that any of this makes sense, is daft. Alienating viewers is not a working business model.

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