F1 qualifying set for radical overhaul, adding quickfire eliminations

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Formula 1 qualifying sessions are set to undergo a radical overhaul ahead of the 2016 season following a meeting of the F1 Commission in Geneva on Tuesday.

As part of a bid to improve the on-track spectacle of the race weekend, F1 chiefs have provisionally agreed to introduce a new elimination element to qualifying that will see the slowest driver be knocked out every 90 seconds.

Currently, qualifying is split into three sessions – Q1, Q2 and Q3 – that sees the fastest drivers make it through to the next stage, with the final shootout for pole being contested by 10 cars.

Although the basic structure of qualifying is set to remain for 2016, it is poised to be altered by the addition of an elimination countdown that will see the slowest driver at every 90 second interval be knocked out immediately.

Each stage of qualifying will start with a safe period that will allow drivers to get out on track and post a lap time.

In Q1, the elimination countdown will start after seven minutes, with the session lasting for 16 minutes and eliminating seven drivers.

The remaining 15 drivers will proceed to Q2, which will again follow the same format – albeit for just 15 minutes – until eight drivers remain and advance to Q3.

The final eight will then take part in 14-minute session with a five-minute safe period. The final nine minutes will see drivers be knocked out until just two remain on-track to battle for pole position.

The change to qualifying is still to be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council, but given the unanimous agreement of the F1 Commission, it is unlikely that it would be rejected. It will remain to be defined whether this is introduced for 2016 and 2017, though.

Further details are expected in the morning regarding other changes agreed by the F1 Commission including changes to aerodynamic regulations and other alterations for 2017.