Elimination qualifying confirmed for first race of 2016

2016 F1 season

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Formula One’s new elimination qualifying format will be implemented in full from the first race of the new season, the FIA’s World Motorsport Council has ruled.

The revised qualifying system will involve drivers being eliminated every 90 seconds in Q1, Q2 and Q3. No changes have been made to the proposal which was originally announced last Wednesday after it was unanimously approved by the F1 Commission.

The council’s decision comes despite Bernie Ecclestone casting doubt on whether Formula One Management will be able to revise its timekeeping software in time. The FIA said the new system “should be introduced for the first round” of the new season.

Ecclestone had indicated FOM would not be ready to introduce the new system until the Spanish Grand Prix in May. The first qualifying session of the year takes place two weeks from tomorrow at Melbourne.

Several Formula One drivers have also criticised the planned changes, described them as unnecessary and over-complicated.

In an ongoing poll of F1 Fanatic readers three-quarters have so far indicated they do not wish to see elimination qualifying introduced.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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37 comments on “Elimination qualifying confirmed for first race of 2016”

  1. Oh god, I don’t think having this in Q3 will improve anything. At the end, you’ll have just TWO cars running in a track to themselves, and chances are they’ll be the two Mercs. 80% of the time, it’s fairly easy to predict which Mercedes will get pole, and so the only entertainment left at the end is from 3-10. What was wrong with the system as it was? I was actually really happy with the proposal of having this in Q1 and Q2, and leaving Q3 untouched.

    1. In other news, the fact that I will not be watching qualifying any more has been confirmed for the first race of 2016.

  2. The fans said no, the drivers said no, Bernie even said they would need to wait two months.

    But did we expect them to listen?

    1. So who are we blaming?

      1. @hahostolze Everybody who played a part in making this decision

      2. The teams! This unnecessary change is the teams compromise over bernie trying to railroad success ballast. What I dont get is that if teams had just said no surely bernie wouldn’t have had the votes needed to push it through.

      3. blame it on Rio …..they want to kick him ouut from F1 ……they just ‘want’ his money to save Manor, so there wont be alot of empty grid

        1. they know the car is slow….. so think he wont be able to pass Q3, and no teams will want him even with the bigger number of dollars

  3. ROFL!

    I guess I won’t stay up late on saturdays or wake up early in the morning on sundays this year.

    1. well, those early season sessions might still turn out to be the only ones with normal qualifying until they ditch this half baked attempt after first introducing it mid season and then tweaking it around for a race or 10!

  4. More than anything else I’d just like to know which format we’ll have when I’m in Melbourne in two weeks time – if nothing else so that explain to my wife who’ll be sitting next to me the @#$% is going on…. which I don’t need to under the old/existing really rather good system, elimination is a bit err video game really

  5. Thankfully I believe I am at work at that time on that weekend…

    What a complete and utterly uneccessary mess F1 has got itself into.

  6. The “sport” is getting itself into a bigger and bigger mess every year, and this change just goes to prove that they certainly don’t listen to the fans, and apparently they don’t even listen to the drivers. What a mess.

    They need to stop changing things that aren’t broken, stop introducing gimmicks and stop introducing rule changes mid-season (like they seem to do every year).

    As one of the few people (I think) that still gets the Sky F1 channel without needing the entire rip-off Sky Sports pack, and despite Sky letting me keep it when I moved house last year, I’m seriously considering cancelling it. F1 is the only reason I’ve been keeping my Sky TV package, but it’s rapidly becoming something I’m not looking forward to watching anymore… On the bright side it’ll free up around 21 weekends a year!

    1. What they need to do is introduce a rule that no rule changes are allowed on less than one entire season’s notice *unless* the rule is being introduced solely for safety reasons. That is to say that if we have reached the first practice session of 2016, no new rules may be introduced until the first practice session of 2018. That will, at all times, give teams and fans at least one year to adjust and get used to new rules, and prevent these idiotic snap changes that are made solely to try and prevent the best team and/or driver winning.

    2. This is what happens when you let incompetent people tell you what to do, for too long. In Soviet Russia, car drives you !

  7. Stupid and totally unnecessary. The qualifying format is one facet of F1 that did not fixing.

    I think the only reason they decided to implement this now was to try to hide their indecisiveness. Too late for that.

  8. It’s just predictable that 1) They change the one thing that wasn’t broken and 2) They go against what fans and drivers want.

    Elimination qualifying is just about the worst case scenario, exacerbated by the fragiles Pirellis. The tyres go off faster than ice lollies on a hot day, and with this format, you won’t have time to just bolt on another set of tyres and go for a faster time. All of the fastest lap times will be set right at the beginning of the session removing any sort of tension and drama towards the end of each segment. Improvements to lap times during the sessions will almost be none existent and surprises will be less likely to happen.

    Even in video games, the one-by-one elimination format is annoying. Those who have played Burnout 3 (One of the best games ever made in my eyes) may agree with me that the elimination races are their least favourite races on the game.

    1. Yeah; I’ve only played Burnout Revenge where elimination happened every 30 seconds instead of every lap, but it was still not the most entertaining feature.

      Now Road Rage on the other hand… >:D

  9. Noooooooo why.

  10. Oh, I cannot wait! This is going to be so funny; Bernie juggling twenty-two stopwatches when the timing screens go blank.
    Manor for Pole!

    1. You’ll be surprised…that’s probably exactly what he did back in the 70s. Williams, Ron Dennis and Ferrari will do just fine with acoustic timing. Red Bull will be hopelessly lost and threaten to go stomping off because it’s so unfair.

      1. @bullfrog If any team should be good at timing things this season, it’s Red Bull TAG Heuer!

  11. I’ll bet that in one of the first three races some sort of technical glitch causes them to revert to the previous system.

    Better still, I’d put a quid on the possibility of such a catastrophic balls up that the grid is set by P3 times!

  12. I thought that the qualifying system of the last few years was the best it’s ever been. They fix what isn’t broken, and ignore what is broken. Exasperation hardly begins to cover my feelings about this decision.

  13. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    4th March 2016, 21:08

    This might be the final straw for me personally. It’s not even that major of a rule change, but the ‘sport’ is becoming more artificial by the day. I’ll give it a chance but doubt this will grow on me. There was me hoping we could see the cars at full pelt in quali, that’s obviously not going to happen. I expect unnecessary accidents, penalties for blocking and ‘tactics’ from teams to prevent other cars getting through. Just another pointless sideshow.

  14. Almost lost for words…..The present system is great…..cannot see why I will want to watch qualifying now…and looking at the comments above…..we are supposed to be attracting new people to the sport…not diminishing the hard core!!

  15. Do we dare to hope that introducing it in Melbourne was a condition of the approval, and that it can’t happen because software, and thus this is the WMSC’s way of playing along knowing full well it won’t happen?

  16. I literally did the Darth Vader “NOOOOOO” when I read this. :(

  17. Makes sense. Fans don’t want it, drivers don’t want it, FOM thinks it won’t be ready so it’ll go ahead. Yep, ….. Yet another sensible change..

    It might make the first 5 minutes more interesting but for the remainder of qualifying, particularly the end definitely not.

  18. well i beg to differ to lot of comments on new quali rules, i think we should give a try to new rule (3-4 races) to judge. because we know what earlier system is capable of and we all love it including me but look at the bright side, teams need to set best times early in qualy sessions means less chances of saving an extra set of tyres (mercedes and ferrari advantage in respect to other) means closed racing in race or slight advantage to mid field.

    1. I agree with Sishir, give it a chance. Maybe McLaren will use up their fastest tires to get on pole, while the faster cars save theirs for the race….?

      1. Bernie is hopping i believe,
        it will cause a few problems with some of the top teams and put a few faster cars back down in the mix,
        his idea might work once or twice but soon as everyone is up to play with it, they will be back to normal.
        the old format worked bloody great and kept you watching.

  19. Nice.

    It’s a pretty stupid idea but qualifying can’t get any worse than it already is. Hell, even flipping a coin would be an improvement. At least now there is some theoretical chance of anything interesting happening in the first 58 minutes of qualifying.

  20. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are no cars running at the end of Q3. Why?
    If all 8 cars run using the softest tyre available at the start, then once they have done that run, that’s it. Since they only get that one set of softest available, they won’t bother running again using a harder tyre unless they really made a mess of the first run. Even then, it may be too late, as they would have to do the following; 1st run – Out lap, Qualifying lap, In lap, Pit & Into the garage. 2nd run – Out lap, Qualifying lap, In lap. It is going to take more than 7 minutes, to do the first run, and they change the tyres and refuel the car, especially on circuits with long lap times (e.g. SPA).

  21. Am I the only one that misses the one timed lap in reverse order from the previous race position? :'(

  22. I’m excited about this. I think they can’t realize it well.

  23. I am totally against the unnecessary qualifying change. But if it is implemented, then I am quite interested to see how it will pan out.

    In the end, I don’t think we have to get our knickers in a twist. The ease and regularity of rule changes in F1 means elimination qualifying will be dropped quickly if it proves to be a failure.

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