FIA confirms 2015 qualifying format return for Chinese GP

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The Chinese Grand Prix will have 2015’s Formula 1 qualifying format officially back this weekend, after it’s been approved and signed off on both both the F1 Commission and the World Motor Sport Council.

The FIA has confirmed the old format to make a comeback, after it had been provisionally agreed to last week following unanimous approval from the teams.

Here’s the updated statement from the FIA:

The World Motor Sport Council today approved, via e-vote, the decision to revert to last season’s qualification format for the remainder of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship.

The format, where the slowest six cars are eliminated at the end of the first two qualifying sessions before a final ten-car shootout for Pole in Q3, will return for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.

Both bodies needed to approve the format following the initial release out on April 7 from the FIA, which read:

At the unanimous request of the teams in a letter received today, Jean Todt, President of the FIA, and Bernie Ecclestone, commercial rights holder representative, accepted, in the interests of the Championship, to submit a proposal to the F1 Commission and World Motor Sport Council to revert to the qualifying format in force in 2015.

This proposal, if approved by the F1 governing bodies, will take effect as from the Chinese Grand Prix and will apply for the rest of the season.

Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone welcomed the idea put forward by the teams to have a global assessment of the format of the weekend for 2017.

As such, the rapid-fire, in-session elimination knockout qualifying used for both the Australian and Bahrain Grands Prix has been resigned to the dust bins.

The new system’s debut in Australia created question marks and head scratching to begin with. Bahrain saw even further frustration because the new session came back after initially being voted out, but both of Q1 and Q2 saw significant periods of inactivity on track with teams then playing out their strategies to where there wasn’t even time for rebuttals.