• New qualifying format to be decided Saturday

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    The new qualifying rules are meant to create more excitement in Formula One racing after two years of domination by Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes. AFP PHOTO

    The new qualifying rules are meant to create more excitement in Formula One racing after two years of domination by Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes. AFP PHOTO

    BARCELONA: The format for a revolutionary new qualifying system for Formula One races will be decided on Friday (Saturday in Manila) after a meeting of the International Automobile Federation’s (FIA) World Motor Sport Council, it was revealed on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila)

    A new knock-out qualifying format for the upcoming 2016 season had been adopted at a meeting of the F1 Commission last week in Geneva.

    However, a new meeting took place at the second pre-season test in Barcelona on Tuesday between team bosses and FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting after complaints were raised at the measures adopted.

    The idea remains to introduce more excitement to the sport after two years of domination by Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.

    Yet, there are concerns that the technology needed to introduce the complex system, whereby the slowest driver would be knocked out at 90-second intervals, may not be ready in time for qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix on March 19.

    Ferrari chief Sergio Marchionne claimed “more time to understand the change” was needed, while McLaren’s two-time world champion Fernando Alonso said the system would “provoke migraines.”

    The proposal would see qualifying split into three segments.

    The first segment will last 16 minutes and after seven minutes the slowest driver will take no further part in the session. Every 90 seconds thereafter, the slowest driver will be knocked out until there are only 15 drivers remaining.

    A 15-minute second segment follows a similar pattern with the slowest driver eliminated after six minutes and then a further driver knocked out at 90-second intervals.

    The final segment will last 14 minutes with knockouts beginning after five minutes and continuing until the two final drivers are left to fight it out for pole position.

    AFP

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