New qualy system delayed until Spain

Bernie Ecclestone says F1’s new qualifying format will not be introduced until the Spanish GP as his “guys” need time to revise the timing software.

On Wednesday, the F1 Commission approved changes to the qualifying system whereby drivers will be eliminated during the three segments and not only at the end of each.

The revision has been met with mixed opinions as some believe it will up the excitement while others fear only chaos will ensue.

They will, however, have more time to adjust to the idea as Ecclestone has confirmed the new system will be delayed until round five, the Spanish Grand Prix.

“My guys who do the timing said: ‘Mr E, we don’t want to be put in the position because we don’t think we can get it done properly in time’,” he told BBC.

He added: “It’s not quite that easy. You’ve got all the graphics to go on the screen.

“If you’re going to try and explain it to the public properly, it’s not just a case of ‘OK, the guy was the last one, bye-bye’. You can’t just do that.

“We’ll have to deal with it. I’ve told the FIA this and asked them what they’d like to do with it but the bottom line is there’s not a lot they can do with it because we do all the timekeeping. So, that’s it.”

The F1 supremo revealed the new system did not come from him, rather he was in favour of reversing the grid – or, at least, the top ten.

“I don’t want to touch the current qualifying, which I think is good,” he said.

“What I’ve said was, if the guy that’s on pole won the last race, for example, we’d have to come up with some sort of a format to say in the end he starts 10th. And the guy who was third in the last race starts maybe eighth or something like that.

“And then you will find you get a whole mix-up of the grid and some of the guys who don’t get as much TV coverage will be up at the front.

“Because you can guarantee the guy who’s on pole will still win the race but it ain’t going to be like pole man disappears and that’s it.”

The teams, though, were against that idea.

“People at the time that don’t want any change at all thought: ‘Well, Ecclestone’s going to push through something so we might as well agree with that rather than have something that is a bit more drastic’,” he said.

“Because it could happen that the guy on pole doesn’t get through the pack.

“Monaco, Hungary – there’s lots of places where you wouldn’t want to put your money on the guy coming through the field.”

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