Bahrain GP: Qualifying format receives more flak from F1 fraternity
Team bosses and drivers declared it as bad as before.
Formula One's new qualifying format was given a second chance in Bahrain on Saturday after flopping on its debut in Australia but team bosses and drivers declared it as bad as before.
"Did you like it more? It's unbelievable," said Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff, despite his drivers taking first and second place on the starting grid with Lewis Hamilton on pole ahead of Nico Rosberg.
"I think after today's Q1 (first qualifying session) and Q2 I don't see what you can like there," added the Austrian. "It's very difficult to follow who is in and who is out. I think we have a duty to simplify the sport rather than add complexity.
"It doesn't mix up the field in a way that would make the race more entertaining. So I hope we can have some reasonable discussions tomorrow."
Formula One team bosses and other stakeholders, including tyre supplier Pirelli, the governing FIA and commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone will meet on Sunday to discuss how to resolve the situation.
The new format, which sees drivers eliminated during each of the three sessions, was introduced in haste only weeks before the start of the season last month and despite team managers warning of the pitfalls. It was brought in to create more action in the early stages and try to shake up the starting grid.
"I think we are not in the position any more now...to do experiments for Shanghai (the next race after Bahrain) because we would look like fools," said Wolff.
McLaren's Racing Director Eric Boullier said he thought Bahrain's qualifying had been worse than Melbourne, particularly in the second phase.
"As far as we are concerned, having only one set of tyres on Q2 means you just do your lap and then you sit in the garage which is a bit ridiculous," said the Frenchman.
"We took a position in Australia, we had a meeting and unanimously agreed to revert back to last year's (format). I think we will stick with this position," he said.
The team bosses had agreed in Melbourne to scrap the format but what had seemed definite then fell apart when it came to a vote in the FIA's Formula One commission. They then agreed to keep it in place for Bahrain and reassess it afterwards.
"I think it’s just not right when you have the last four minutes and nothing’s happening. That’s usually when people should be smashing the lap times," said Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.