It’s official, the new qualifying format will remain for the next grand prix in Bahrain. According to reports, the F1 Commission met to discuss the situation and left without changing anything. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said:
“They’re going to do what I proposed, which is leave things as they are for this race [in Bahrain].
“After that we will then have a good look and decide whether what was done was the right thing to do, the wrong thing to do, does it need modifying, does it need scrapping?
“This was an FIA idea in the first place, so I’ve said to them we’ll support whatever they think is the right thing to do.
“But as nobody knows what the right thing to do is, we’ve said we’ll stay where we are and have a look after this race.
“Then two races in we’ll see, as it was a prototype, what was right or wrong.
“The teams didn’t understand what they were doing either, which didn’t help at all.”
There was a part of me that reckoned the teams were completely caught off guard by the new format—which is a tad hard for me to imagine if I’m honest—but you know how you get in routines and how changes like this can take a while to get your head around. There may be an element of that for sure.
On the other side of the equation, the tsunami of disdain from fans and pundits alike after the Saturday in Australia should have been a serious wakeup call for F1. They clearly know that fans don’t like the new format and even met on on Sunday before the race down under to discuss reverting back to last year’s format. That seemed to calm down what had become a spiral of outrage by fans on social media.
Now it seems that the powers that be have decided to do nothing and give the new format another try.
For the record, I think F1 is on thin ice and if it is going to introduce new systems or formats, it had damn well better vet the entirety of the change and run as many simulations as possible. The old days of trying things out and throwing crap on the wall to see what sticks isn’t really working in a sport generating over a billion in revenue.
Fan patience is running low and the new pay-TV announcement in the UK is already stinging fans in the pocket book although in the States, we’ve been paying for it for years.
I understand why they’d like to give it another shot and see how it works but to be honest, I don’t believe it should have been introduced in the first place as qualifying isn’t one of the things that’s broken in F1. There are many other things they could have focused on.
Hat Tip: JA on F1