F1’s Managing Director Ross Brawn revealed that there was no agreement reached on the new qualifying format and it won’t feature in the 2019 season at least.
In the lead-up to the Russian Grand Prix, reports floated about a new qualifying format where the sessions would be divided into four parts as opposed to the current three with four slower cars getting eliminated in the first three sessions.
That would leave eight cars for the final session in the fight for pole. The idea was initiated by Liberty Media in the Strategy Group meeting held last week as confirmed by the FIA’s Racing Director Charlie Whiting.
The reports mentioned of a 2019 debut, however, Brawn has now confirmed that it won’t feature in 2019 as there was no consensus between the teams and the F1 organisers, but they will still continue to push to introduce it in the future.
Like Whiting, Brawn also indicated of a new grid formation in F1 especially for the drivers who are penalised, so as to push them to take part in the qualifying session – to avoid a situation like in Sochi.
“The Sochi weekend once again brought to the attention of spectators and those in the sport the topic of penalties,” he wrote in his post race column. “There were so many over the three days that the Chief Steward decided to put out a press release explaining how the grid had been decided.
“I think that all concerned have to consider the need to find a different solution to manage penalties relating to changing mechanical components in excess of the limits laid down by the regulations, so that it does not penalise the drivers and then spoil the show.
“It definitely doesn’t help, as we saw in qualifying on Saturday, when five of the 15 drivers didn’t take part in Q2 given there was no sense in running as many were going to start from the back of the grid anyway, as was the case with the Red Bulls and Gasly.
“In this case, it’s better to aim for the sixth row and have a free tyre choice for the start, as Renault chose to do. It definitely is not good for the show when you see drivers braking a few metres from the finish line so as to not set a time good enough to get to Q3 and to have to use the tyres with which they set that time in Q2 for the start.
“Those of us who feel that Formula 1’s greatest asset is its fans, have to look at the rules to ensure they are comprehensible and produce the best possible show.
“For example, the qualifying format has now been well established for several years – apart from the unsuccessful experiment at the start of 2016 – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look at ways of improving it, such as the idea recently put forward at the last Strategy Group meeting, to split qualifying into four parts rather than the current three.
“No agreement was reached on introducing it for 2019 but the seeds of discussion were planted, now we have to make sure they grow well.”