F1 qualification chaos as teams agree new elimination plan
Original scheme replaced with new version, but will it be approved or ready for the start of the season?
The season has not yet begun but Formula 1 has already demonstrated its capacity to shoot itself in the foot as confusion reigns over planned changes to qualifying - one of the few aspects of the sport not in need of a revamp.
F1 teams last week approved a plan to introduce a live elimination element to qualifying this season, only for the idea to be delayed until the fifth race so a new timing system can be introduced.
Now, Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne has said he is unsure about it.
"I think we need more discussions about the new qualifying format," he told Motorsport.com. "We must be careful not to upset the system... We need to understand it better - and I don't think every team agrees with the proposal."
There was also criticism from the drivers. After the changes were delayed, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg told Crash.net: "It's not very professional... going back and forth. It's not such a major change so it's good that we're thinking about it and I think it's important to bring them in as soon as possible."
Fernando Alonso of McLaren was not impressed in the first place. "The two-time world champion, labelled the proposals 'crazy', believing they would only make the sport harder for fans to understand," reports the Daily Telegraph.
Heaven knows what they think about the latest idea, which is to introduce a version of the elimination plan for the opening race in Melbourne later this month.
A "revised compromise system" has now won the support of the teams, reports Motorsport.com. "The preferred plan that has emerged is for Q1 and Q2 to run as the knock-out system originally intended, and then Q3 to remain as it has been in recent years." However, only eight cars, rather than ten, would run in the final session.
It is also unclear if the new rules would be in place at the start of the season and would apply for the whole of the competition - and whether they have the backing of supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who proposed the idea in the first place.
"This new plan will go before the FIA World Council on Friday, but it is far from clear whether it will be accepted - not least because Ecclestone has already made it clear that he is not keen," says Andrew Benson of the BBC.