Bernie Ecclestone, Singapore, 2014

Ecclestone opposing return to 2015 qualifying system

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone isn’t considering a return to the old qualifying system.

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It’s an auspicious weekend for Stoffel Vandoorne:

It’s striking how similar the circumstances are to Vettel’s debut. Robert Kubica turned up to race his BMW Sauber at the next race after his own spin-dryer crash at Montreal, but was medically excluded, and so a great F1 career was launched.

I’d rather see that happen again, than an injured driver struggle round less than fully fit. If it was November and he was in world championship contention there’d be something heroic about it, but not in race two.
@Bullfrog

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  • 75 comments on “Ecclestone opposing return to 2015 qualifying system”

    1. I’m not surprised at all..

      1. Bernie you are talking about. I think if you were to implement Bernie’s ideas the show would brim with excitement. I wouldn’t like it as I and many of us can bear with well earned brilliance, the quickest are rewarded in qualifying and the racers on Sunday. Bernie is artificially trying to chance Sunday whilst ruining the fundamental logic of qualifying for pole. His ideas for qualifying for as much as I dread them, would immediately become a hit, next saturday is just a sign of power and the catalyst for a further qualifying change.

        1. You might as well let Simon Cowell pick the winner of the race. That’s the logic we’re fighting here. Reverse grids will have a little short term success and then ruin F1 long term… just like DRS or any of the other things we’ve seen implemented against the fans’ will in recent years.

      2. sunny stivala
        2nd April 2016, 8:46

        Bernie out to stop interfering with rules and regulations, as the commercial rights holder he is not supposed too.

    2. Mark in Florida
      2nd April 2016, 0:16

      Bernie must be consulting his magic 8 ball again to come up with his ridiculous statements. He is trying to turn a noble sport into a professional wrestling show. If and when F1 is sold the new owners first act should be to put Bernie on gardening leave,,,, permanently. Save what little dignity you have left Bernie, leave on your own you have lost your faculties completely.

      1. But Bernie would rather keep 37% of half a billion than 10 or 15% of one billion, for him it’s all about HIS bottom line.

    3. F1 probably does have a declining reputation. Many factors are involved, with which many of us are familiar. But I became a fan in an era when there was little live race coverage on TV and when drivers died with horrible regularity. I’ll be a fan long after Bernie has gone.
      Unless Bernie takes F1 down with him. Even if that happens to the current incarnation of Formula 1, the name brand will live on. I’ll still get excited enough to watch FP2 at 3am from some obscure corner of the planet. And a new incarnation might become cheaper, more accessible to new fans and more fun.
      Imagine all the jobs and investment that would be lost in that process though. Scary.

      1. Therein lies the problem @scalextric, not even the might of MB could afford to keep the entire team on the payroll for a year without any racing/income. The only solution is a coup for 2020 organised well beforehand by MB, Ferrari, Renault,and Honda taking their customer teams onboard as well. It would be a massive undertaking, undoing the track and TV contracts (Bernies problem) and getting them (or others) contracted for a new-name series and new calendar.

        1. @hohum Leaving F1 to lose numero uno status the same way NASCAR achieved it (CART-IRL)?

      2. @scalextric Bernie is counting on people like you. He will bleed you dry while others are locked out. Well done, hope you enjoy your exclusive pastime. Like I’ve said many times before.. ‘Stop giving this organization your money!’

        1. I’ll quite happily out-wait Bernie. There are much richer people than me giving him so much money that my contribution (which isn’t going to bleed me anywhere near dry) is negligible. Not quite sure what makes it exclusive, it’s on basic cable where I live and viewership figures are increasing here. Obviously that doesn’t apply everywhere…

    4. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      2nd April 2016, 0:22

      I honestly don’t understand this sport anymore – it’s almost like the Formula One Management want to make it as unpopular as they can.

      That qualifying system was boring. It wasn’t just bad – it was stunningly dull – everything F1 shouldn’t be. Keeping it is just another bad idea in a long line of bad ideas.

      That GPDA statement sums up a lot of fears that fans have for F1 – worry about the future in pay to view and concern that the direction of the sport is bad. The idea that the management would dismiss it as ‘windbags’ pretty much validates their concerns and shows how out of touch, and how little regard the management has for the sport’s fans, let alone the competitors that form it.

      Oh and ‘time ballast’ or a ballot? The future’s grim.

      1. Ironically, BE is saying these windbags are just saying what the teams want them to say…ie. So it’s not just the drivers.

    5. Bernie is a disgrace for F1. When they will get rid of him?

      1. The only way Bernie will leave is when a shadowy figure in black (armed with a scythe) comes for him. Unfortunately the powers that be (CVC) and a number of the teams think he’s the only person able to run this so-called “sport”.

    6. It seems everybody in Formula One is falling out now. Lauda obviously doesn’t want to upset Bernie because he has a favourable deal, but I’m sure none of the team bosses in their right mind actually disagree with the drivers. I’m curious to know, which other former drivers are in the association?

      It would be wonderful, no matter how unlikely, to see McLaren come on or near the podium. It’s difficult to tell because it seems that the other teams still have more to give from FP2, but the McLarens pace definitely seems good.

      And finally, a race in Las Vegas would be fantastic, even better if it were to be a sunrise race, as I believe the timezone seems to work perfectly for European audiences (not that that matters to Bernie now I suppose?).

      1. @strontium, as long as it is not another “carpark” track. Sunrise in Las Vegas !? they could probably hold it on the main road, and without barriers.

        1. Have you ever been to Las Vegas during the day? It looks and feels like a completely dead ghost town. Only Reno further north is worse… and that is one of the worst cities to visit in the entire United States. A night race in Vegas might not be a bad idea but that probably won’t happen, since Vegas is 8 hours behind the UK and 9 hours behind most of Europe. It will take place in a city that will probably mix a bit better than it did in the early ’80s. Vegas is much better for big events than it used to be- I wonder how a place as tacky and slimy as Vegas will mix a with a bunch of snobby, pretentious and somewhat sophisticated bunch of Europeans with fine tastes. It will be a great race to watch on TV, but not a great race to attend- not unless you like strolling through a nicotine and excrement smelling casino lobby- the older hotels like Caesars, Treasure Island and the Mirage are hotels where you are allowed to smoke inside freely. And you actually have to be inside one of those places to experience how unpleasant and gaudy they actually are.

          If there is a race in Vegas, I imagine it will be in March or April; probably in March. The heat there really gets high and unpleasant around early May, and summer temperatures from late June onwards there regularly go past 40C (104F) and it doesn’t cool down sufficiently until late October. I would like to see an F1 race in the Los Angeles area again (like Long Beach) or even the San Francisco area but we will have to wait and see…

          1. Nothing wrong with the F1 crowd going to bed at midnight and arriving at the track 10 am for a midday race, then back to town for dinner and a show. Oh, and a lot of those Europeans would be glad to be able to smoke inside, smokers don’t smell dirty ashtrays because that’s how they smell all the time.

            1. Having a race at the LV oval speedway combined with the road circuit within the oval wouldn’t be a bad idea.

    7. Any word on the EU case? Is it ongoing or has it just humbly not been mentioned due to a lack of success?

    8. Now we know, it’s Bernie, but know it’s always Bernie !

      I think Bernie sees manufacturer teams, Mercedes especially, and manufacturer reliant teams as a threat to his being able keep the lions share of the profits when it comes to renegotiating the “concorde” for 2020, which for an octogenerian is only like the week after next. Bernie wants to own the engines so he can “own” the teams.

      1. Erratum ; but WE know it’s always Bernie………………..why do we only ever see these just as we click “post”?

    9. Don’t know if this was brought up on here over the Melbourne weekend but FOM have added a new ‘Data Channel’ to there additional content package they send out to broadcasters for this year. Sadly it doesn’t look as if any broadcasters are actually broadcasting it but it’s really cool & i’d like to see Sky use this rather than the traditional timing screen that they have.
      http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3ynf3c_f1-data-channel-fp2-melbourne-2016_sport
      http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3zm4wt_f1-data-channel-race-melbourne-2016_sport

      FOM are also giving broadcasters access to some extra analysis tools sing car data & GPS tracking to create a 3D analysis of lines, braking/acceleration points, Gear changes etc…
      http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3yxu49_alonso-guttierez-melbourne-2016-crash-skypad-analysis_sport

      1. Those are cool indeed @stefmeister. Maybe Sky are holding them for their Q service.

    10. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
      2nd April 2016, 1:12

      A ballot to decide qualifying? What is that, WWE’s Royal Rumble? If they do that, We might end up with the same results at the end of the year (for example: Mercedes being champions anyway) but if there is a year where 2 teams or 2 drivers are equally competitive, the champion could be just the luckier of the 2. That is unfair, that would eventually lead to the unlucky team to leave. Because they won’t be investing all those millions to see the major result decided for the flip of a coin or a Lotto scheme. Absolutely terrible.
      As a comparison, UFC became a popular sport for all those who like martial arts but wanted to see something real, different from WWE pranks and already-decided storylines.

      And if F1 becomes a joke, real fans will switch for another category that brings real thrill. Real drivers will move to other categories, or get sponsors and teams together and create a new category. It wouldn’t matter if this new series is named Ultimate Racing League or however it could be named, as long as I can see Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen and the other worthwile racers doing exactly what they are supposed to, racing. I would definitely not give credit to F1 if it ends up with Celis or Jorda, or the Brunei Sultan as WDCs, just because they can pay the fees Bernie wants to charge, because they worry just for the money and nothing for the sport.
      And in this my-ideal-world, Ferrari, Mercedes, all the big ones, would lead this new category, leaving Bernie with a F1 with Team Lada as the champions of the Petrol World Championship, with DRS, sprinklers and wildcards.

      1. @omarr-pepper Easier said than done. Many tried to make the ultimate racing series but all failed. Look at A1GP, or the supposedly alternate series before Bernie masterminded the breakup between the main backers. Formula E, with all its weakness, often said has better racing than F1 but the spectators numbers is nothing compared to F1. WEC viewers also still a lot behind F1 and it has the 24h LeMans to attract non racing fans too. Even MotoGP numbers are bad compared to F1.

        1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
          2nd April 2016, 4:19

          @sonicslv but imagine (stretch reality please as I know what I will say is impossible) if from next year on, Lewis, Seb and any other you have as your favorite move to promote a brand new category. Wouldn’t you follow it? Wouldn’t many people instantly turn to see this category if the 2 latest F1 multiple world champions move there and openly say (finally openly, as Bernie wouldn’t stick tape on their mouths) they decided to leave F1 because it’s too gimicky and shallow?
          Imagine this category decides to add some classics, as Mount Panorama, Magny Cours, Hockenheim, Turkey, South Korea (I still consider that was a good track built in the wrong place).
          I would definitely follow it, instead of watching Abu Dhabi or Singapore.

          1. @omarr-pepper The problem is not when they finally made it, but how to made it. Set aside the ridiculous amount of money the organizer needed for logistics, renting the track, make a deal with local authority, marketing the new series, TV deals, and so on. And no company going to pay F1 level sponsor fee for first few years until its proven.

            Then you have the prisoner dilemma of making the whole F1 team move to the new series. With current structure, the WCC will get lot of money and when some major players (i.e the main backer of new series) leave the rest will get big chance to become WCC and get lot of prize money. Why join – the unknown, mostly going to pay less if you win, you mostly going to lose again to the same competitor in F1 – in first year when you can reap the benefit of them gone in F1 for couple of years more and if the new series successful, then you can join it later anyway.

            And don’t forget the prisoner dilemma for the drivers. People like Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel, Button, Hulkenberg may done what they want or frustrated with F1 and may switch. But what about people like Rosberg, Massa, Verstappen, and whole lot of junior series champions who haven’t taste F1 or feel they deserved to be WDC?

            1. @sonicslv, the teams, and only the teams can start a new series, and it would require at least the top 7 teams to commit in advance. No need for different circuits, merely a different week.

            2. @sonicslv @omarr-pepper The last time Ecclestone actually bet on a popular driver not leaving the series and taking the public with him, Nigel Mansell pretty much single-handedly brought Indycar to the mainstream in the UK, pretty much to F1’s loss… I don’t think I watched much of Prost’s last championship, but I certainly remember watching Mansell sweeping the US on ITV’s Indycar coverage, after watching F1 in Mansell’s championship year.

              I don’t think he’ll either make that mistake again (or at least not have a contingency plan).

          2. The Korean GP would have been a success if that circuit had been built right outside Seoul.

      2. @omarr-pepper, the idea of using a ballot to select the starting grid is actually quite an old idea, originating during the era of Grand Prix racing (some venues would allocate starting positions based on a ballot instead of qualifying).

    11. He’s certainly ruining it for me (Bernie that is, although I’m sure that’s obvious). This will be the first Quali I haven’t watched is as long as I can remember – I’d rather just look at the result than sit through that joke again. I think the races are going to follow soon until someone who understands the concept of a sport comes along and fixes the distribution of wealth issue that’s broken the sport.

      1. Glad someone else is boycotting qualifying @bigwilk , thought I might be the only one.

      2. I am disappointed to say that I am also boycotting quali and I’m debating skipping the race to for the first time in 16 years. I love formula 1, but it is deteriorating year after year and i feels like watching a slow motion train wreck. I don’t believe in negative posts but I really want to enjoy formula one again. I don’t know how else to express my frustration…

        1. For all the rubbish with the politics dominating the news and an awful quality format with worse in the pipeline from the demented midget last race was good. I will, another good race would be 2 in a row, in fact looking at races from 10 years ago I think the last few years have been much better. The problem is the politics is hypnotising people into criticising every element.

    12. F1 is such a farce. It is sad to watch. There was nothing wrong with qualifying, nothing. Dreading watching tomorrow.

      1. knoxploration
        2nd April 2016, 4:24

        Then don’t. The only answer we have as fans that will (eventually) be listened to is viewership. Unless we stop watching, they will never listen.

        1. tesla (@thedogjustpukedonme)
          2nd April 2016, 5:13

          Don’t watch, torrent the Sky feed… just don’t give them your money. They might understand that.

        2. yep knoxploration, @jmc200, I’m not watching quali later today; I’ve had a period before when I didn’t watch F1 much due to a lack of good coverage, busy with study, and results being predictable – I guess I can put F1 on a back-burner for a bit again and tune in again after Bernie finally passes away.

    13. One think we can say about Bernie. He’s consistent.

      Says he wants change. Then criticises the change. Then says it wasn’t his idea at all.

      I think we’ve just about arrived at the day that he won’t actually know what his name is and will be formally declared “mentally incompetent”.

      Scary thing is who will take over when he’s gone as the rest seem equally as incapable.

      1. @dbradock Bernie doesn’t lie, the knockout qualifying is not his idea. His idea is the time ballast and he still championing it until now at least.

    14. Bernie once again going on how Mercedes have made the only good engine. Garbage. If that were the case then at least one other Mercedes powered car would have won a race in the new turbo era, just one, and not Renault and Ferrari powered cars. Mercedes aero and the whole package is the key, not just the engine. Red Bull dominated for ages with an inferior engine.

    15. I wonder why they even bother to shake up the grid with those new quali rules.

      It just means we have to watch more of those uninspiring DRS-aided straight line drive-by “overtakes”!

      1. Was last race uninspiring?

        1. I’m implying that with DRS If you are driving a Force India and have a Merc behind you, there’s like zero chance to fight him.
          So most of the alternativ strategies that used to work, don’t work anymore.

          Won’t see races like spa oder suzuka 95

    16. Everything is such a mess that I don’t even feel like commentating about it. There’s so much to say here, but it’s getting to the point that all we here is agree on our replies to the shockingly bad news we hear day after day.

      We don’t discuss with each other anymore about the intrincate things in our sport. We just agree this ship is going down, with a gaping hole on the bottom, which some people are trying to make bigger even if they have the tools to make it smaller.

      1. +1
        I was going to comment but then couldnt think of anything we all havent written 100x already. Its very depressing for us fans at the moment…

    17. No. Please. Not Vegas again.

      1. Let’s pray that they don’t put it in the parking lot again.

    18. Bernie has to go. Yes he was key in creating the worldwide spectacle that is Formula 1 but the time has come for change. He has no good ideas for F1 anymore and he now just trying to make random changes in some sad pathetic attempt to prove he still has power.
      Jean Todd has also been awful as FIA president. He is so weak and appears so disinterested in anything to do with Formula 1…it is so disheartening as someone who loves F1.
      I still believe F1 is a fantastic sport and I personally am in awe of the current cars. The times from Australia and today in Bahrain are just incredible especially considering the size of the engines compared to the V10 monsters of 2004. Do I miss the screaming sound of the old engines? Of course I do but I do enjoy the new sound of what we have.
      I just wish Bernie and Jean Todd remembered what it is to LOVE F1 and not just consider it a cash cow sport watched by idiots they don’t care about.

    19. Beanies Lottery basically Bernie sets the grid.

      Why can’t we be a real race series again.

    20. Actually wish Bernie would do f1 a favour and, considering he will never step down, just keel over

    21. I was in Melbourne fopr Quali and people were leaving their seats to go with 4 minutes on the clock. It was sad. I usually like quali and tune in to watch, the last 4 minutes should be thrilling. The last laps after the flag are thrilling. Now… i won’t be watching tonight. Not due to a boycott, but boredom. I know it won’t be interesting, so I’ll look up the results after.

    22. There will come the day when I sit down and speak to my future children about this thing called Formula One. They will ask to watch it to see it themselves and I’ll have break it to them, they can’t, because Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt ruined it.

      I don’t want to have that ending.
      Some things need to change for the future of Formula One. Getting rid of Ecclestone, Todt and CVC would be a good start. Let’s put some people who care about the sport, not just money, in to sort this out. We have great potential that is left unharnessed.

    23. There’s a common saying that ‘If you can’t see the problem, then you’re the problem’. In that picture, Bernie’s eye is welded shut, so of course he can’t see the problem. ;)

    24. I am 72 years old. I have watched F1 since I was 8 years old (it wasn’t called F1 then). I thought at the end of last season that 2016 might be the last season. The evil dwarf is like a lot of senile people, things were better in the past.

    25. Perhaps the time has come for someone to organize a massive multi-national petition to get rid of Bernie? He dismisses any opposition as being wrong-minded. If tens of thousands tell him he’s wrong, perhaps, just perhaps, he will listen.

      1. do it! I’ll sign. Of course he won’t listen, but maybe we can put a bit of pressure on his position.

    26. I read the article on the Guardian website about F1 approaching a critical mass. I’m not sure what happens when it reaches the critical mass. Does it implode or explode? I guess it must implode, collapsing under the weight of debt the teams have accumulated while trying to race with less and less corporate sponsorship.
      Recently Mr Ecclestone was quoted as saying he wouldn’t pay to watch F1, so it seems he wants to distance himself from the herding of F1 races into the Pay Wall corral.
      Branding is an important part of any American Western that includes cattle rustling, and the same applies with F1 races, each car carries the “brand marks” showing who paid for it. I’m not sure, but I suspect those brand marks are seen by the world as indicative of the value of that which bears it, so a car with high value branding on it is considered to be more valuable than one with low value branding on it, even though the car underneath is exactly the same.
      The more and more the rustlers push F1 into the Pay Wall corral, the less and less those brand marks get seen. If those brand marks aren’t seen, then why should the owners of them pay for their placement on a car? If high value brand marks aren’t there, does that lower the marketable value of the car? If the racing cars are less marketable, does that lower the value of the racing series?

    27. A ballot? I’ve heard of rose-tinted glasses but silent-film-tinted glasses is well and truly something different.

      Why is having qualifying about having cars lined up in order of speed such a problem now? Why was it not a problem five, ten, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50 or 60 years ago?

      Ecclestone has lost the plot. Todt has lost the plot. The teams seem to get manipulated by both and the drivers are the only ones speaking any sense right now and they have no power at all. And as a result of all this, we see another stupid qualifying system proposal by somebody every single day at the moment, when the solution to this ‘problem’ is painstakingly obvious to see (reverting to what we had before) and nobody is focusing on the real problems within the sport right now.

      This is beyond a mess now and it was completely unnecessary and avoidable.

      1. @craig-o, there was some power boat racing here last weekend, it was terrible, the fastest boats won all the races, funny though, they didn’t seem to mind and actually got quite excited. There’s no displeasing some people.

    28. Totally sick of this.

    29. I reckon Bernie’s just trying to hang on until Robert Mugabe becomes available to take his place.

    30. Yeah pretty sickening stuff I agree. Getting hard to take. The drivers are ‘windbags’ just echoing what their teams want them to say? Gee Bernie, I thought the drivers were part of the team, no? Either way, it’s not just the drivers but the teams too then, right BE? Thanks for confirming that.

    31. Nero fiddled while Rome burned

    32. Michael Brown
      2nd April 2016, 16:26

      This new elimination qualifying is a joke. All it does is hurt the slowest drivers even. Rather than having the whole qualifying session to set a better time, you only get about half of the session to beat your first time. If it wasn’t enough, rather than having the next 5 or so minutes to try again, you’re out.

      And so the last 3 minutes or so leave us with an empty track.

      What was wrong with the 2015 qualifying? At the end of every session, there was usually a rush to set the last lap at the end of the session to get through to the next one. We don’t get that any more.

    33. Every time I read one of Bernie’s statements they seem to get worse. A lottery!!! For goodness sake. What an idiot. We could then end up with the prospect, on certain circuits, of the faster cars not being able to pass the slower ones. What good would that do. The problem is basically, the differences between the engines. This is the main factor that needs solving.

      To write off the views of the drivers is crass and stupid. They should all just not turn one week. How about in Azerbaijan?

      Qualifying – there was not much wrong with the 2015 system really. Why not ask the drivers what they think? They’re the ones who really know.

      Lauda – shut up. We don’t need another old fart talking rubbish (I know he was once a great driver). We have got Bernie for that!

    34. Bernie compares the parlous state of F1 to a famous rock band:

      “Imagine if people turned up to watch the Rolling Stones and Mick [Jagger] couldn’t sing and the others couldn’t play their instruments.”

      Surely an accident, but could he have drawn a more telling analogy?

      Musically, the Stones have always been close to shambles, and their musical proficiency has always been in stark contrast to their popular success. I last saw the Stones over 25 years ago and they were well past their best even then. Have they made a decent record since the 70s?

      F1’s glory days are also well behind it, and it is flirting with disaster too, but unlike the Stones, for whom organized chaos is their schtick, the more shambolic F1 gets, the more fans abandon it. The great irony is that Bernie doesn’t realize that his decisions have been central to pushing F1 into the sporting no-man’s-land that it currently finds itself. Unable to decide whether it is essentially sport or entertainment, commercial concerns have come to dominate everything and it appears that F1’s stakeholders are simultaneously shooting themselves in the foot, and running around like headless chickens in a desperate effort to fix this endless stream of self-induced problems.

    35. I really don’t think that Bernie will be around in F1 for very much longer. He used to be devious but creative; wrong but right (if you know what I mean…..). But now he is just a caricature of himself. He lurches from one crazy decision to another, as if he knows he’s going but he wants to take the ship down with him. I think it’s inevitable that someone will soon be having a quiet word in his ear – he is now an embarrassment to everyone he is associated with. Even asset strippers don’t want to be seen as stupid. He’ll be gone before the end of the season.

    36. Michelangelo
      3rd April 2016, 16:00

      Well what insight to the debate on qualifying BE just gave DC (not). There is no doubt that he doesn’t care about anybody else’s opinion other than his own, or could the problem be that he has lost his hearing because of all the time he has spent in the paddock and therefore doesn’t realize that everybody else disagrees with him.
      Whatever the case, when he passes away the legacy he should have left won’t be there.

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