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Ecclestone: New F1 qualifying format introduction delayed

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Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that the new format for Formula 1 qualifying will not be introduced until the Spanish Grand Prix in May as the software for the timing system still needs to be written.

Earlier this week, the F1 Commission voted unanimously in favor of adding quickfire eliminations to the existing qualifying structure in a bid to shake up the grid and improve the on-track spectacle.

However, Ecclestone has now confirmed that the necessary software is not yet in place, meaning that the pre-existing qualifying system will likely remain until the Spanish Grand Prix on May 15.

“The new qualifying format won’t happen as we can’t get everything together in time,” Ecclestone told British newspaper The Independent.

“It was going to come in at the start of this year but we are not going to be able to get all the software done in time.

“So the qualifying changes will probably be in Spain. In Australia it will be the old qualifying. All of the software has to be written in and it’s not easy.”

Ecclestone also said that he did not fully support the new qualifying format, instead favoring a system whereby the fastest driver would not start from pole position.

“It’s not what I wanted in the end. All I’m trying to do is muddle up the grid so that the guy that is quickest in qualifying doesn’t sit on pole and disappear because why should he be slow in the race if he is quick in qualifying?” Ecclestone said.

“I wanted a very simple thing. I wanted qualifying to stay as it is, because it is good, and then if a guy is on pole and has won the last race he gets so many seconds added to his time so he has to fight through the bloody pack to get in the lead, which he would do in the end.

“It would be exciting racing while he is doing it.”

Valtteri Bottas fastest in Friday F1 practices for Russian Grand Prix

F1 Sochi Valtteri Bottas
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SOCHI, Russia — Valtteri Bottas paced both F1 practices Friday for the Russian Grand Prix on Friday as Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton was slowed by damaged tires in the first session.

Bottas turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 33.519 seconds in the second session that bettered Hamilton’s 1:33.786.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was more than a second behind Bottas in third at 1:34.577, followed by the McLaren Racing duo of Carlos Sainz Jr. (1:34.723) and Lando Norris (1:34.847).

In the first F1 session at Sochi, Valtteri Bottas set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 34.923 seconds, beating Ricciardo by half a second. Max Verstappen was third quickest in his Red Bull, a further 0.147 back.

Hamilton could only manage 19th fastest after locking up his tires and leaving them with a flat spot. Ferrari again struggled to find pace with Sebastian Vettel ninth and Charles Leclerc 11th.

HISTORY IN SIGHTLewis Hamilton aims to tie Michael Schumacher’s record

The first session was briefly red-flagged when Nicholas Latifi crashed his Williams. Carlos Sainz Jr. spun his McLaren backward into a barrier and broke off his rear wing.

Verstappen spun during the second session but avoided damage to his car.