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F1 to have new qualifying format this season - Ecclestone

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Formula One Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone (L) reacts next to Former Formula One champion Niki Lauda as they watch the men's Alpine Skiing World Cup Super G race on the Streif course in Kitzbuehel, Austria, January 22, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/Files
Formula One Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone (L) reacts next to Former Formula One champion Niki Lauda as they watch the men's Alpine Skiing World Cup Super G race on the Streif course in Kitzbuehel, Austria, January 22, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/Files

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Formula One will have a new qualifying format this season as part of changes that will help make the sport more exciting, commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Wednesday.

Speaking to Reuters, the 85-year-old confirmed that the change, agreed unanimously by teams on Tuesday, would be introduced at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 20 once the governing body had formally approved it.

"The idea really is that it will be the same as qualifying in wet conditions. Maybe one or two of the hotshoes aren't going to make it (to the front). So we won't see the obvious on the front of the grid," he said in a telephone interview.

The new format will see the slowest drivers eliminated while the qualifying sessions are still going on, rather than having to make a cut at the end of each phase before the final pole shootout.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Ossian Shine)


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