Everyone's Least Favorite F1 Qualifying System Is Dead At Last

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Phew. Formula One’s elimination qualifying format is officially dead after two unsuccessful attempts to make it work. The FIA formally approved the reversal to the 2015 qualifying format, reports the BBC. That was the last hurdle the reversal had to clear to go into action before the Chinese Grand Prix.

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Of course, because it was the FIA who had the final say on the matter, everyone was nervous that they’d pull some kind of surprise string to make qualifying suck.

The FIA refused to acknowledge the teams’ desire to drop elimination qualifying entirely by bringing a modified version of elimination qualifying—not the option to revert back to 2015's three-round qualifying format—to a vote before the Bahrain Grand Prix. Because no one really wanted it in any form, we ended up with another race with a completely botched qualifying system.

However, the joint statement from FIA president Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone about tabling any qualifying format tweaks until 2017 made it sound pretty certain last week that we’d finally get qualifying back to normal.

Per the BBC, the FIA confirmed that the reversal had been approved unanimously by the final stakeholders in F1's legislative process: the F1 Commission, the FIA World Council, sponsors, circuits and even tire supplier Pirelli.

I’d imagine that Pirelli got tired of hearing about the one-lap specials contributing to elimination qualifying’s suckfest, too.

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Either way, it’s finally back to normal, but keep an eye out for 2017. It sounds like we may get yet another change along with the myriad changes coming to the cars.

Moderator, OppositeLock. Former Staff Writer, Jalopnik. 1984 "Porschelump" 944 race car, 1971 Volkswagen 411 race car, 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS.

DISCUSSION

Although its popular to use the term botched, qualifying was not botched, or a botch. If you look at the end result grid for the first two races, its clear to see, we got the grid we would have had regardless of qualifying method. You can use the three practice sessions to measure this or even look at last years grids, little has changed. A botched system would be to reward slower cars over faster cars, which is what this most recent qualifying system was meant to do. What was in fact a botch was not filling up of air time or track time with cars for the paying audience, suddenly it was as if qualifying was more important or of equal importance with the race.
The problem with F1 is the fucking engine. I know its hard to report endlessly on this but it is the center of so much that is wrong for the audience and the teams budgets. The reason qualifying was changed was to get a different grid, the engines stopped that because the engines as they are, are screwing up the competition part of things. I am not a Ferrari fan but I cant help but notice that the head of Ferrari and their top driver are both saying that F1 should dump this engine, this from a team known for engines.