F1 Winter Break
F1 qualifying: Bernie Ecclestone admits F1 not ready for new format
Haas F1 car
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Feb 2016   |  9:14 am GMT  |  97 comments

Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that the new ‘elimination-style’ qualifying format, which passed through both the F1 Strategy Group and the F1 Commission this week, will not happen in Melbourne, because his technical team cannot prepare the software and graphics in time.

With qualifying in Melbourne just three weeks away, the 85 year old supremo pointed to this as the reason the hoped-for plans to shake up the format will not come to fruition.

Team sources in Barcelona this week were already sceptical that the new plan was not properly thought through. For example, one team sporting director raised the question of what would happen if there were a red flag at a critical stage of the season; how would it be decided who would be eliminated, or would the session have to restart from the beginning?

With the new season less than a month away it did seem an ambitious plan and rather a knee-jerk move at the last minute before the new season.

“The new qualifying won’t happen because we can’t get everything ready in time,” Ecclestone told the Independent. “We can’t get the software done in time. So the qualifying changes will probably be in Spain.”

Changing rules mid-season is always fraught with problems and switching qualifying formats mid-season is highly contentious.


One wonders how far the Spain introduction suggestion will get, with the FIA and teams likely to be reluctant to confuse TV viewers any more than the sport does already.

F1 needs to make itself more inclusive and accessible, not less. The new tyre regulations, for example, with three different compound available require careful explanation to casual fans. For something as simple as putting tyres on a car there is no need for such complex arrangements. And the engine penalties rules require a post graduate degree to understand.

More likely the new elimination-style qualifying format idea will be given time to develop, perhaps for 2017.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

Bernie needs to resign now. There is no clear direction in F1 because he is a geriatric clown and doesn’t have the mental capacity to do anything. Why is he still being allowed to even have a say? This is farcical. To the average person it is clear as day that the one common problem with all of the crazy ideas that has ruined F1 is Bernie. He contradicts himself 2-3 times a day it seems. He never takes the blame for anything and always blames politics for his own crazy ideas. #binbernie


Dysfunction Junction, how do you function???


James, the comments from your article (as outlined in quotations following):

“One wonders how far the Spain introduction suggestion will get, with the FIA and teams likely to be reluctant to confuse TV viewers any more than the sport does already”.

“F1 needs to make itself more inclusive and accessible, not less. The new tyre regulations, for example, with three different compound available require careful explanation to casual fans. For something as simple as putting tyres on a car there is no need for such complex arrangements. And the engine penalties rules require a post graduate degree to understand”.

…would seem to be an admission to my post from last week (of which the refusal to publish it and the subsequent blocking of my posts following would seem to be operating from somewhat of a ‘young’ perspective) where I criticised both F1 and this site for operating exactly that perspective as outlined within the comments from your article. Thank you.

With regards to the qualifying, IT WAS NEVER BROKEN from even the time when it ran as a 1 Hour (go your hardest in your own time) Qualifying Session.

From the assertions that were constantly peddled at around the time of it’s demise – that it was too drawn out and boring with never enough cars on the track over the 1 Hour due to competitors (most often when running in dry conditions) running only at the beginning and at the end of Quali), the solution was very simple and would have seen Quali maintain a high level of excitement right up to the present day:

1. The implementation of a requirement for competitors to run at least twice for every 15 Mins of the 1 Hour Qualifying Session with a 2 Grid Place Penalty for each failure to run.

2. If the 1 Hour (for what ever reason) is believed to be too long, then run the same format for 30 Mins with a requirement for competitors to run at least once for every 10 Mins of the 30 Min Session with a 2 Grid Place Penalty for each failure to run.

Very Simple!

Plus, the 1 Hour (or 30Mins) approach would have maintained (to some degree) long-standing, exciting traditions that even ‘casual’ fans would easily re-familiarized with – without all the fruitless, complicated, confusing, too over-involved (and costly in time and money) so may as well walk away and not bother, ‘unscrambling of the egg’ crap that has become increasingly the mainstream of F1 for nearly 20 years now!?!!


Order, counter order, disorder! Well done F1 shambles.

However, the Formula E qually is quite good. Groups of cars randomly picked and top of each group go to final group.


I seldom post on here, but read every day! But I just couldn’t let this one pass. I like qualifying as it is. Oh I didn’t originally, I used to enjoy the free-for-all with cars coming in and out of the pits but now I find that it’s much easier to keep track of the new(ish) format and it does build the tension nicely towards the end. It’s especially easy to keep track of when you’re at the circuit with no real commentary and just the time screen to see. This makes Saturday a really enjoyable part of the whole weekend. So, that’s my view.

But, now onto Bernie. It’s possible that his intellect has just gone completely. At his age that, sadly, is a possibility. But I don’t see it that way. I honestly think he’s just having some fun. He doesn’t need the money, I don’t believe he has any affection for Formula One so I actually think he’s just amusing himself by winding up as many people as he can. And F1 gives him a nice big pool of fans and teams to do that to.


Welcome to Uncle Bernie’s Amusement Park! If he hasn’t lost his marbles then I assume he is trying to fix something that is broken – CVC;s business model. He thinks that by spicing up the qualifying and shaking up the grids that it will be such an improved spectacle that many more will sign up for PAY TV to watch or even show up and pay at the gate to see the event. Trouble is it will make little difference while the product is so expensive. Oh EU commission – where is thy sting!


Sounds like a group dance in ball dancing, all going around the floor (track) until removed one by one. Next they will throw in judges to award style points to sort out the grid…


Qualifying never needed to be fixed. If a proper mixed up grid is required then instead fix the issues which do not allow teams to test and develop the cars.


So it will be boring. If not even Ecclestone would pay to watch current F1 why should the average man with average salary? At least this new qualifying would have put some thrill for the first races and motivated more people to watch F1. What’s exciting in a turbo domination by Merceded with 3 or 4 races won by Vettel? It’s boring. As long as engines will be so important it will always be a boring Mercedes or Ferrari private business.


I like the current quali format, but the proposed changes do sound very interesting. I think making the faster teams not take things for granted in Q2, for example, can only be a good thing. Though at the same time I do agree with this website’s assertion that changing something that wasn’t broken (or at least wasn’t a major problem for F1) shouldn’t be a priority.


What happened to the logical term, “If it ain’t broke”…..

I’ve watched F1 for most of my life, and consider my self a pretty die hard fan. But I have to say I dont understand the sport at all. Somewhere around the turn of this decade they just thought it be a good idea to change things every year, and now that’s not good enough and they want to change rules mid season now. Ok, things have to change once in a while, but it has to be “once in a while”. Just leave the rules alone and let the sport find itself.

Just a heads up… The proposed quali plans won’t work at mixing up the grid. Sure it will catch teams out in race 1, maybe 2 or 3. But after that they will know the format and learn the best way to bank a lap.

I think the decision to make the drivers have more control off the start last year in Spa was a good choice, but this one just seems like it was thought up late one night at a strip club, after a few drinks.


With the old/current format which is much simpler, drivers in top teams got caught out and eliminated in Q1 and 2 and have had to drive through the grid (always one of the most exciting things to watch) this new format increases the chance of that happening.


I like the current system. What I don’t like is the fact that pundits keep saying it will only confuse F1 fans. Why does everyone assume that F1 fans are stupid?


this argument about qualifying is part of a proxy war engulfing f1.


Unless i’m mistaken…didn’t the ‘strategy group’ sign off on this idiocy as well? if so then bernie is only one part of the charade/circus whatever…..team principals are there, writ large.


I agree 100%…..get rid of lift and coast and let them push all the way!


@ buzzzzz….thank you for your comment.



get rid of lift and coast and let them push all the way…

They will never do that. It doesn’t matter whether there is a fuel limit or not – the weight penalty for extra fuel has always been greater than any speed advantage it brings from being able to push harder. I’m sure I read that the teams , aside from one or two tracks where fuel is marginal, don’t actually use the full 100kg allocation for this very reason.


“To be fair, according to a report in Motorsport, the teams only came up with and agreed this idea because Bernie was trying to force something even worse on them – reverse grids and extra ballast for the fastest cars.”

Ken the above was posted earlier in the thresd….that might explain why.

Agree to something that they know will be too impractical to implement.


@ C63….yes, you are right. i have mentioned that on more than one occasion. i’m sure that you’re aware of the advantages it would bring especially with the fact that they may be able to run the engines at 15000rpm which is the upper limit. why have this limit if they never exceed 11/12000rpm? that alone would lift the sound levels and ameliorate some of the criticism. this whole economy business is stupid. yes, we all know how clever they are, now can we please get back to racing without having to conserve a few extra litres.



It would advantage all teams but at least we would see them going flat out and not lifting and coasting so they don’t run out of juice.



see some moves towards better racing… remove the fuel flow restrictions would be a great start…..

I’ve seen you say this a number of times. How would that, in itself, make the racing better? Surely all the teams would be advantaged in a similar way and the status quo would remain.


@ buzzz….yes, i did read that but after i had posted. the strategy group could have rejected it though so if anything, they are complicit. hopefully it is quickly forgotten and dumped and we can see some moves towards better racing! remove the fuel flow restrictions would be a great start.


I thought the current Quali system was one of the best.

However, I’m not opposed to changing things up a bit but that just it… it should only be adjusted a bit.

Whittling the contenders down is an interesting idea but I think there should at least be 4 drivers left at the end and not just two. Rather eliminate more drivers at a time and also keep 4 left at the end to provide more variety.


That should be enough sign to drop the whole forrible idea.


When a story like this is flying around, always good to take a look around and see what we are being distracted from.

How are those 2017 car regs looking?

Anything else going on?


Oh for goodness’ sake, the Strategy Group and the Commission don’t understand the calendar! Expletive deleted.


Not that we needed another example of the growing case for having someone taken away by the men in white coats…..

I get the impression that Bernie really doesn’t like Mercedes.


I imagine the feeling would be mutual since I assume that Mercedes would have told him that if the grids were reversed or weight added they would withdraw from F1 effect immediately as you don’t spend what they have spend to play such a mickey mouse game.

Thread the Needle

Leave the rules alone Bernie


So the quali changes are delayed until Barcelona when they’re gonna change the quali to a format… The fans have shot this one down in big ole BK Flamers, next test at Barcelona where, coincidentally quali changes to the format where it’s all gonna change but not until the graphics are ready… Cos the software department for the computers and things and the processors aren’t quick enough with the new PUs saving fuel the whole time, my driver ain’t even tired anymore like my grandad whose running Fwunderkind came up with a great quali change idea but it’s too soon for the next Barcelona test is performance based interesting thing…

Sorry, I’m just making it up as I go along.


Too funny that BE wanted the new quali format but his techies can’t sort it out in time. Shame they are not up to F1 standards, since teams have to do much more complicated stuff at short notice on the whim of BE et al. Time to replace your team Bernie, followed by replacing yourself 😉


One hour unrestricted running and the fastest gets pole. Easy.


James Bernie said this new format wasn’t his idea is that true?

He wanted pole man to start in 10th i think


A successful idea has many fathers

A poor idea is an orphan…


How very true!!!


There is already going to be a diffence in qualifying this year with the new tyre rules some teams may opt to run Q2 on a harder tyre to extend the first stint in the race. Why did this further change try to be pushed through before we even see how the new tyre rules pan out? It kind of appeared from no where out of a meeting where 2017 rule changes were supposedly being discussed. Shows the mentality of the organisers.


F1 is human decision making process screwed-up to the core.

No business takes such irrational, short-term calls. And the income distribution structure is twisted beast that flies in the meritocracy and contribution.

I have been a loyal follower of F1 for more than a decade now. And I feel ashamed at how this sport is being run to the ground.

There is so much technology, business acumen, organisational structuring, scientific data understanding and decision making knowledge that can be leveraged outside of the sport. And none of it sees the light of the day.

All this money, human intellect and endeavour being spent in vain. So much good can come off this sport.

Top Tags