F1 chiefs fail to agree on qualifying change, set next meeting for Thursday

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No changes to the current elimination format Formula 1 qualifying system have been agreed following a meeting between the sport’s major stakeholders in Bahrain on Sunday morning.

The much-maligned format made its debut in Australia two weeks ago, but failed to fix any of the problems that it set out to remedy in qualifying.

Team bosses provisionally agreed in Australia to revert back to the 2015 format, only to fail to reach a unanimous decision at an F1 Commission meeting last week, resulting in the eliminations remaining in place for Bahrain.

The format had another underwhelming second run on Saturday ahead of another meeting on Sunday morning, with Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff saying that his opinion had not changed.

Ahead of Sunday’s summit, Wolff joked: “If somebody puts a block in the system to make us stuck we should publically crucify him in the paddock.”

In a 90-minute meeting featuring all of the team bosses, FIA president Jean Todt and F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone, no agreement was reached regarding qualifying.

Another meeting has been scheduled for Thursday where alternative formats will be considered, with a return to the 2015-style qualifying not being favored by Todt and Ecclestone.

Reports coming out of the paddock following the meeting suggested that an aggregate qualifying system is being favored, with drivers having their average lap time in each stage of the session decided across two laps.

What does seem certain is that going back to the 2015-style qualifying is no longer an option, leaving F1’s chiefs with a race against time to get a new format agreed on for the Chinese Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.