Mark Webber is shocked that Formula 1 bosses went back on plans to scrap the new elimination-style qualifying system.
In the wake of Melbourne’s qualifying disaster, which was widely panned by fans and drivers alike, Formula 1 bosses reportedly made a unanimous decision to revert to last year’s qualifying format.
“We made a mistake and will go back for the next race,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports News HQ. “We are usually a pretty dysfunctional group but there was absolute unanimity.”
However, days later it emerged that despite the agreement Formula 1 would not drop the new elimination system.
A meeting of the F1 Commission declared that the new system would still be used at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix after which F1 would take another look at it.
That decision has shocked former F1 driver Webber.
The Aussie told the Daily Mail: “Yes it does (come as a shock). I thought we were leaving Melbourne in good shape with a decision to go back to a system which was working pretty well.
“But that’s not the case and we are back to the Melbourne scenario which even at its best it will struggle to equal what we had.
“For me, the beef I’ve got is we are still focusing on the driver that’s on the bubble or the driver that’s slow trying to get into that session. Now with all due respect we are focusing on Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez or young Esteban Gutierrez, now that’s fine. But we’ve also got to be focusing on the laps the big boys are doing to form the first few rows of the grid.
“The best one (qualifying session) that suits the drivers doesn’t always suit the commercial rights holders and the best one I had was four sets of tyres and a one-hour session – and those sets of tyres didn’t have to be used for the race either.
“So many things have changed since then. And we still need to keep explaining the sport. We have to say there are ramifications from a qualifying session that hurts tomorrow’s race. It’s just all talk…
“When we switch a TV on it should be this is qualifying, who has the fastest lap time in the tank in terms of the driver pushing absolute commitment and do a phenomenal lap? And if you do can, you go a tenth quicker. I want to go back out and respond.
“And that was the problem in Melbourne, people couldn’t respond as there wasn’t enough tyres or enough time.
“Now we’ve gone way too far and drivers are pigeon holed and restricted into operational running times they don’t always want.”