F1 teams unite in call to return to 2015 qualifying format

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The 11 Formula 1 teams have written a letter to the series’ bosses expressing their united call to return to the qualifying format used in 2015, according to reports.

The F1 Commission agreed in February to add quickfire eliminations to the existing qualifying structure from the Australian Grand Prix, only for the new format to prove highly unpopular.

As the F1 Commission could not unanimously agree on what format should replace it for Bahrain, the eliminations remained in place and once again failed to improve the session.

On Sunday in Bahrain, team officials met with F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt for 90 minutes to discuss a possible change in the format of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix. However, all that was agreed was to hold another meeting today.

Ahead of the summit, the 11 teams have informed Ecclestone and Todt that they are now firmly united on returning to the old qualifying format according to multiple reports including BBC Sport and Autosport.

Previously, some of the teams had been undecided on what format should be used, but now there is unanimity between them.

At the meeting in Bahrain, reverting back to the old style qualifying was not discussed as being a viable option due to opposition from Ecclestone and Todt.

Instead, an aggregate system was favored whereby drivers would have their two fastest times in each stage of qualifying added together to form the grid.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was particularly vocal about the idea, calling it “s**t”, and it appears that the teams have come to a similar view in the wake of their letter.

Underpinning all of this is the power struggle between the teams and Ecclestone/Todt, as explored by NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton in his latest blog post.

The F1 Commission will vote on qualifying again at today’s meeting, but unless an agreement can be struck, it would appear that the eliminations will remain for the Chinese Grand Prix on April 17.