Elimination qualifying officially replaced by 2015 format

2016 F1 season

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The FIA has confirmed the unpopular elimination qualifying format has been dropped just two races after it was introduced.

Formula One will revert to last year’s qualifying system with immediate effect.

“The World Motor Sport Council today approved, via e-vote, the decision to revert to last season’s qualification format for the remainder of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship,” the FIA announced in a statement.

“The format, where the slowest six cars are eliminated at the end of the first two qualifying sessions before a final ten-car shoot-out for pole in Q3, will return for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.”

The elimination qualifying proposal was approved two weeks before the start of the season but was widely criticised following its introduction at the Australian Grand Prix. The system again failed to find favour after being used again in Bahrain.

With F1 teams unanimous in their desire to return to the previous system, the FIA eventually agreed to it being replaced.

The three-stage knock-out qualifying format was first introduced at the beginning of the 2006 season. However the FIA announced last week its president Jean Todt, commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone and the F1 teams are to discuss “a global assessment of the format of the weekend for 2017”.

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Keith Collantine
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59 comments on “Elimination qualifying officially replaced by 2015 format”

  1. Excellent news. Very happy that elimination qualifying’s gone, and that the previous system is back in place.

    1. It’s still “elimination” qualifying, just the old type.

    2. knoxploration
      11th April 2016, 18:20

      Gone temporarily. It’s important to note that in exchange for getting this system back, the teams had to agree to revisiting the entire weekend structure for 2017 onwards. I fully expect Ecclestone to force through a system far worse than the already-awful qualifying we suffered thru for the last two races, and to accompany it with changes elsewhere designed to let him rig championships more easily.

      1. Undoubtedly, but this showed who is really wearing the pants now. Hopefully the teams will see what’s coming and not be hoodwinked into anything.

      2. Recently Mr Ecclestone was quoted as saying F1 is the worst it has ever been, and that he wouldn’t pay to take his family to watch a race. Sadly, I think he was a year early when he said that.

  2. The fans win!!!!

    1. maarten.f1 (@)
      11th April 2016, 17:01

      @f1sidewinda Will see what happens in 2017. Bernie wants to mix up the grid, and he’s pretty good at getting his way. But at least we no longer have this monstrosity.

      1. The teams can just disagree on any changes in future and nothing can be changed?

        1. The teams can only vote on ideas presented by fia and bernie. If the teams are given the choise to vote for random grids decided by bernie’s fortuneteller or reverse grids based on elimination qualifying then those two are the only options the teams have to choose from. There is no disagreement option.

      2. It wouldn’t surprise me if Bernie slipped into the contract a clause about it being 2015 qualifying with a reverse grid.

  3. Im glad the old system is back.

    But if they want to change it how about asking fans for ideas about changing it. They dont have to use what is said but it might give them some ideas they had never considered.

    For example – have a 1 hour session will each driver having to complete 10 times flying laps. These then produce 10 possible grids,
    Lap 1 Lap 2 Lap 3
    hamilton – 1.11.123 rosberg – 1.11.145 hamilton – 1.11.135
    rosberg – 1.11.345 vettel – 1.11.354 rosberg – 1.11.142
    vettel – 1.11.654 hamilton – 1.11.723 vettel – 1.11 423

    Then (to satisfy the need to spice it up) but 10 numbered balls into a bag and draw out a ball that reads which one of the 10 grids they will use. This then prevents teams from knowing which lap time will be used to form the grid, it will mean if you totally balls up a lap it wont always be on the same lap that someone else screws up and it will produce a different grid without feeling totally fake.

    All systems for qualifying have their pros and cons just can they make sure that the pros outweigh the cons

    1. I actually like that one but the fans will always complain about fixed balls and things like that..

    2. Hi Ed and (@sotiris07). That is a very interesting idea. However, I personally cannot really support any systems that involve a random drawing of balls. I just feel that qualifying needs to be about nailing the one special lap. That is why I wouldn’t be too upset with a return to single lap qualifying. You could still make it an elimination style too.

      First session, drivers start in the order they finished the previous race (so this weekend Nico would start 1st). This way track evolution would favor the slower cars. Slowest 6 drivers would be eliminated. Q2 would then go in the order of Q1. Track evolution still favors the slower cars. Slowest 6 drivers eliminated again. Q3 starts in the order of Q2.
      This system forces drivers to nail a perfect lap in each part of qualifying, each team is given equal air time on TV keeping sponsors happy and because track evolution is always favoring the slower cars plus the pressure of getting your lap absolutely right, there is a much increased likelihood of a mixed up grid and cars qualifying out of position. Pirelli would just need to provide 4 sets of the fastest available tyre each weekend with teams free to run any combination they like on Sundays. (4 sets – 1 to practice with and 3 to qualify with)

      One good thing with all this qualifying mess is that it is a lot of fun reading the different ideas from the fans.

      1. I personally like the single lap qualifying system, but 2015 format is my all time favourite!

      2. @eoin16 The biggets problem with your suggestion, as the previous single lap qualy has showed us is when weather comes into play, no driver skill or car advantage can cover that. That’s why a session time where driver free to lap when they want to is preferred because on changing weather, each driver has equal chance to make or break their run instead of hopelessly watching the rain comes down just before their scheduled time to go out.

        1. The 10 flying laps can be set at any time during a 1 hour session and in no set order….if you want to do 10 flying laps all at the start or right at the very end then sobeit, the idea behind this is that cars will always be on track as they have to set 10 lap times and because they dont have a set slot to adhere too they can go out when they want. This time being eaten up by refuelling and people wanting to scrap a lap cos its not good enough it will give teams opportunity to do what they want in the session but knowing that if they dont get all 10laps in and they only do say 7 laps that they will be at the back of the grid should a number 8,9 or 10 be drawn. The weather will not come into play cos all teams will have to decide if the weather will improve or not so will give teams an option to but in a banker lap or two. And at the moment the teams use about 5 sets of tyres in a all 3 sessions so with 10laps to run its 2 laps per set of tyres so they wont be burning through sets to try and make it through a session.

          As i said any qualifying has pros and cons, its just an example of how to allow teams the ability to run laps which pleases the fans watching and at the circuit, but with 10 possible grids created the random ball draw would satisfy the FIA et al on its “messing the grid up”.

          I have full confidence that they will come up with something uttely complicated, they have a year after all

        2. @sonicslv you’re absolutely right. Although given Bernie’s pathological desire to mix up the grids, he would probably see that as an advantage of the system lol
          Oh God am I starting to think like Bernie???

          1. @eoin16 for FIA president 2020!

            Can I be your campaign manager? You just need to pay me 10% ‘heritage’ bonus for being your first supporter from FOM profit!

          2. Haha I’ll do it! (@sonicslv) you are officially my campaign manager

  4. Now the real season begins.

    1. Yeah but this time with less fans !

      I hope Bernie or the others don’t come up with ideas that’s supposed to come from a 10 year old !

      No offense to 10 year olds…

  5. The fact that it took eight weeks for common sense to prevail concerns me…

    Precisely nobody benefitted from the woeful elimination qualifying. I hope we never have to speak of a woeful qualifying system again, but I fear we could just see something even more absurd in place for 2017 such as a gimmick-filled qualifying race or something.

  6. OMG!!!! Common sense from the FIA!!!! I’m not sure that F1 can survive this. What next, compulsory retirement for Bernie, Teams allowed a free tyre choice from all compositions, bringing back the excitement of refuelling, paying each team an identical sum with a bonus for their position in the Constructors Championship? Not to mention bringing down ticket prices. I get a whole year of Sky, with loads of its various bolt ons and ALL of EVERY GP LIVE for less than the price of a weekend ticket at Silverstone.


    Now, let’s move on to the next ridiculous controversy…

    1. Some have said the next few months are going to be really crazy politically, any guess on what the next argument will be about?

      1. FlyingLobster27
        11th April 2016, 17:44

        The 2017 Technical Regs. I believe the rules are due to be agreed on by the end of this month, and with all this rubbish going on about QP, there’s not much time left to get the aero rules right.
        Then we’ll have a QP row all over again, because Ecclestone wants a change. Elimination may have been the tip of the iceberg.

    2. @fer-no65 2017 Qualy.

  8. Mark in Florida
    11th April 2016, 17:12

    Stay tuned this won’t last long, another stupid idea will be forthcoming from the senile mind of Bernie. No good idea can be left alone, it spoils the show.

  9. Yes! And this makes it look like it was their decision. Bravo…

  10. I’d like 2015 style q1 and q2. Then q3 is each driver doing one lap alone. From standing start. It would be nice to see which teams are fastest into t1 (top speed before braking, 0-200mph times etc.). Chance for some drama when the drivers only get one chance.

    1. Hmm…This standing start for the Q3 shootout might be a great idea.

    2. Sounds like an interesting idea.

    3. Great idea! That would be cool to see

  11. WheeledWarrior
    11th April 2016, 17:56

    So after the shambles that was double points in 2014, another stupid FIA idea to artificially spice up the action down the drain in no time. Let’s quit these pathetic ideas now and just go on with proper racing.

  12. “a global assessment of the format of the weekend for 2017”

    Is there really anything wrong with the format we have? More like what happens within this format needs looking at…

    The addition of a sprint race for instance would be great in the sense that us fans get more F1… but what would that mean? I’m all for better value for money, but surely more running means the extra cost has be covered by someone, more costs for the smaller teams, and maybe for the fans too…

    1. knoxploration
      11th April 2016, 18:24

      From Bernie’s point of view, yes. The current system doesn’t let him fiddle with the results as easily as he’d like…

  13. ColdFly F1 (@)
    11th April 2016, 18:17

    Good news – now we have a full season to discuss alternatives.

    Mine would be: Saturday qualifying race based on reverse grid.

    1. This…reverse championship order 45m race. Teams will have to optimize for overtaking… Oh teh galore.. But then I reckon saturday would be more popular than sunday…

      1. knoxploration
        11th April 2016, 18:25

        “The teams will have to optimize for overtaking” — so we’re going back to having a separate car for qualifying on Saturday? Because the race-day cars are designed for anything but overtaking, unless you count that little DRS button.

      2. Reverse championship order, or reverse finishing order from last race? That could add the extra excitement of a driver well-placed in the Championship but who retired in the previous race starting in midfield or better. Would you envisage Championship points for the Saturday race?

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          12th April 2016, 6:12

          no points; only grid positions. @nickwyatt

    2. No, we don’t. We have until the end of this month (in theory) to discuss alternatives. More issues that need to be discussed for 2017 – less scrutiny for each of them. What dodgy things will sneak through…

    3. @coldfly Just got random thought. What if the grid is reversed but 107% rule is reduced into 103% rule. Whoever drops below 103% from the fastest time on each session, they do not qualify for the reversed position and start at the back of the grid. If they slower than 107% then its steward decision as usual. So either you trying to be the fastest slowest driver (I love typing that), or put ninja fast lap at the end so everyone suddenly below 103% of your time!

      Where’s the patent office?

  14. We now wait for another stupid idea from Old Man Godfather Bernie and his Gang of Partners.

  15. Why does all this feel like an attention grabbing event? Just felt that way !

    Maybe F1 didn’t have enough controversy or build up for people to talk about so Bernie goes ” Well lets build one ” sigh !

  16. dear god, that last sentence is scary…

    1. Yeah global assessment haha, probably just Bernie and Todt in the the meeting room!

  17. Woooppp whoop woooop.
    Let’s just pray for 2017.

  18. Yeeeeeehhhhhaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!! They finally got rid of the new elimination qualifying format I don’t have fall asleep any more yyeeeeeppppeeeeee!!!!!!!!

  19. I would suggest keeping qualifying on Saturday rather than having a race. You divide it into two or three sessions. In the first session there is a time penalty for the first ten finishers in the previous race. A declining time penalty based on their finishing position. Once the top 10 in the first session are through to the second, based on the overall time including the penalty, its then back to the current format for session two. So 12 cars eliminated in the first session if there are only two sessions.

    This could also work with three sessions with the time penalty in Q1 and Q2 but not in Q3.

    This would mix things up but it would still leave the top 10 shootout as it is which is then clearly understandable by all. It might mean though that some of the favourites don’t get through.

    There would be no stringent restrictions on tyres so there was enough to achieve the fastest time possible.

    1. If I recall correctly, one of the original reasons that Bernie cited for wishing to change qualifying was that the promoters wanted more excitement for Saturday to put more b*** on seats and probably to charge more for Saturday tickets. If that’s correct, one of the best solutions would be to have a sprint race for half points perhaps on Saturday, that would decide the grid order for Sunday. Could be fun.

      1. John Toad (@)
        12th April 2016, 0:00

        Want to spice up qualifying, why not make it worthwhile for teams to run by awarding points?
        Make the qualifying session a one hour, unlimited tyres, sprint festival with the same points system as the race.
        This gives the weekend two highlights. Saturday becomes and all-out speed contest and Sunday becomes a 200 mile tactical battle.
        For all the brain power in F1 they don’t seem to be very good at thinking outside the box.

      2. Forget tampering with qualification to make the Saturday more exciting. Qualification should simply be that, to see if the car and driver is good enough for the race and establishing the merit of the starting position for the entrants. If they want more ‘entertainment’ then they should run some races in other categories and classes. The Melbourne GP has huge success running the V8, GT and Porsche races and many fans come mainly for the V8s. Maybe they can hold more GP2 races on the same race meet, leading up to the main event, the F1 Grand Prix. The FIA controls more than just F1. On that note, who owns the commercial rights to GP2?

        1. John Toad (@)
          12th April 2016, 2:53

          I remember the first GP meeting I went to at Silverstone in 1958. There were qualifying races for sports cars and saloon cars together with a final for each. A warm up for the GP race and the race itself and finally a race for 500cc Kart-like cars. All-in-all something like 9 races during the day, stretching from about 1000 to 1700, a full days entertainment. The least exciting race of the day was the GP with Collins and Hawthorn in the Ferrari’s disappearing down the road from the rest. Although I remember Mike Hawthorn passing Stowe grandstand on his slowing down lap and raising a half-empty mug of beer to the crowd.
          Different days, now every category wants to be the headline race and the promoters won’t mingle them up any more.

  20. I’m glad to this.

  21. Damn! Here go my free Saturdays. Now I’ll have to watch qualifying again. It was good while it lasted, thank you Bernie!

  22. So now Bernie needs another idea to get the fastest cars starting down the field. It’s not a bad concept, in itself, as long as the eventual winner is ”the best” performer of the weekend. If they have to do some passing so much the better.

  23. Finally! But given that it’s been a case of teams etc standing up to Bernie and his “ideas” one wonders what sort of vengeance will be wreaked upon them for 2017.

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