Pump your brakes, new quali could stay for Bahrain

Share This Post

The immediate outrage regarding the new qualifying format has now died down to a hushed murmur with increasingly louder voices in support of the system but with a few tweaks.

The first to publicly suggest that the systems should simply be tweaked and perhaps not jettisoned was Mercedes boss Toto Wolff followed by a hearty endorsement by Force India’s Bob Fernley, then a rousing back-pat from Pirelli and now, finally, a full-throated plan by Mr. Ecclestone himself—who was relatively peeved by it in Australia but now seems to find it sensible.

According to reports today, the F1 Commission will vote Thursday on whether to revert to the old system or perhaps modify the new system for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The times for Q1 and Q2 would be changed to promote more running but Q3 would be like the old format. Still 90-second elimination and perhaps this would work as many fans commented that the new format was ok for Q1 and Q2.

The thought here is that trying something for the first time can always leave less than desired results and that with a few tweaks to the system, qualifying could be even better than it already is. Regardless, it seems like an attempt to jostle the grid and create randomness in the race.

It’s not an idea I am that keen on as I like to see the best drivers in the best cars battling for pole, not battling to manage a time delta and avoid being 6th on the grid for the race only then to work hard passing back markers in order to get back up front and fight the best driver in the best car.


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Captain

So the fans almost universally hated it to the point where they had to have an emergency meeting to say it’s off to not have the outrage distract from the race. Yet here we are a few days latter with a couple of F1 heads still thinking they know better than the fans as to what we want. Something, something, microcosm for all that’s wrong in F1 something something.


+1 That sounds familiar. You’d think that some drivers would write a letter or something…

Joe Mama

It’s incredible how quickly some people can rationalize something that clearly made no sense just a few days ago. So now we’re supposed to believe that what didn’t make any sense last Sunday will make perfect sense next? Huh. Well, if we’re going to persist in being thick, let me make one suggestion; Let flying laps count all the way through qualification, not just at the end of each stint. This will make it easier to understand what that flashing number means in terms of racing – namely that guy on the bubble is driving for his life, instead of… Read more »

Joe Mama

I know I’m responding to my own post, but it occurred to me just what I found so outrageous about Aussie Quali, beside the last minutes of Q3 being doormouse quiet…

For me, eliminating drivers based on a timer mid-lap is the closest thing I’ve seen to coitus interruptus in all of motorsport. Nobody likes that. Don’t do it!


Attention NBCSN: If they do go back to “new” (stupid) quali, please! Please! do NOT introduce the driving lineup and recap P3 when the most cars are on track at the start of Q1. I know that was the best spot under the old Quali, but under new Quali, its the start of Q1 that is critical, not the end. The first few minutes is the only chance we have to see the back markers, and taking time away during those crucial 3-6 laps from the viewing audience doesn’t seem very bright. Especially so, considering that those first few may… Read more »

Bacon Wrapped Sushi

I think if they let the flying lap count in Q1 and Q2v that will fix a lot of this problem. I’m still on the boat of bring back the old system, but unlike Congress I am willing to compromise.

Buckeye Kenny

If they are going to continue to use the new system, it seems like they might need to have a seminar for a couple of the teams that did not seem to understand the program.


Pump your brakes even further; according to some people on twitter – https://twitter.com/ianparkesf1/status/712996077255987200?lang=en-gb – the qualifying in Bahrain will be exactly the same as in Melbourne, no tweaks at all.

The idiots are officially running the asylum now.

Negative Camber

Oh for the love of pete! come on folks, this isn’t really rocket surgery here. Fans hated it. At least revert back to last year’s until you get the new system sorted.


It’s still an unnecessary friggin’ gimmick.


Talk about tone deaf… The fans hate it, the drivers hate it, most if not all the teams hate it… SO LETS KEEP IT!!! And for all of you that think that Bernie needs to step up and just take control of the direction of the sport – this debacle is why he of all people, shouldn’t touch the sport anymore. Bernie backed himself into a corner with the stupid interview where he called F1 the worst it’s ever been – and now we may be stuck with his shambolic solution to “fix” the sport, but screwing up something that… Read more »


Its actually Charlie Whiting’s solution. Bernie’s ideas weren’t much better though – either partially reversed grids or grid penalties based on finishing position in the previous race.


Bernie’s been driving the bus to revamp Qualy – not Charlie… Autosport did a story on what happened. Bernie wanted Qualy to be a sprint race with the grid set by P3 standings. The teams said they were ok with whatever Bernie put forth – but told him to talk to the promoters and broadcasters. Before he went to the broadcasters he gave the interview calling F1 the worst it’s ever been… BUT when he went to the broadcasters rumor has it that several threatened to terminate their contracts if Qualy went to a sprint race because of the lost… Read more »

The Captain

Interesting, I read about his reverse grids idea but not this. I would be O.k. with the sprint race, but it seems that once again (especially in the U.S.) the TV broadcasters obsession with commercial breaks are making the sport unbearable to watch.


Autosport hinted that it was the UK broadcasters that caused him to reconsider – not NBCSN… They specifically called out Channel4 as being only willing to take on the BBC’s contract because they could get commercials in between sessions…

The Captain

You’re right, NBC wouldn’t care either way since they’d have no problem cutting away from large chunks of the the sprint race for commercials.

Hell at least the BBC is kinda fighting for the fans here. NBC already cuts to a couple of commercial breaks during the qualifying as it is.


NBC cuts to commercial mid-session… At least C4 waits for the breaks between sessions.

The Captain

I especially enjoyed Bernie saying ‘it’s crap’ last weekend right after qualli, yet this whole mess is a compromise from something even worse Bernie wanted to do (reverse grids) in the first place. Then after saying how much ‘crap’ it was he turns around this week and pushes to give it another shot.


So what stopped them from having a 20 minute sprint, partial elimination, 15 minute sprint, partial elimination and 10 minute sprint? There’s still room for commercials there.

As we’ve seen with starts, that gives guys a greater opportunity at shaking up the grid than this knockout b.s.


I think what Bernie ultimately was trying to do was to encourage the TV packages to expand their Saturday coverage – thereby bringing in more $$$$ What he was pushing was that the starting grid for the sprint race be set based on the standings coming out of P3. With P3 now having an impact on the race weekend, it drives fan interest in getting to watch P3, which means a push to include P3 in even the basic broadcast package. Since the broadcast package would expand, Bernie could then collect additional fees off of the expanded package, and because… Read more »


If the tires didn’t have 1 “golden lap” in them I would be more in favor of it. As it stands now, if you’re on the clock and bump yourself up from 6th to 5th, you’re right back in the 90 second time delta very soon and you’re a sitting duck with no time left to get a fresh set of tires. Also, if you’re in 5th and worried about the car behind bumping you down to the relegation slot you have to be on track at the same time to make sure IF it happens you can make it… Read more »

charlie white

Here again lies another example of this sport simply unwilling to admit it got something very wrong in the face of great evidence stating it differently. “Let’s keep trying this until we get it right.” Grooved tires, high degradation tires, push to pass, prime/option tires,re-fuel/no re-fuel, DRS, etc.






Todd, don’t feel as though you have to watch quali to support the podcast. If you wanted to boycott, like some of us do, I don’t think the community would mind. Up to you of course.

Tim C

It really hurts me to say this, but Formula 1 has now dropped below NASCAR in my eyes. Yes . . . there I said it . . . lower than NASCAR. This whole qualifying debacle is worse than NASCAR throwing a caution flag for phantom debris on track (when it’s obvious nothing was there). The “pinnacle of motorsports” . . . really . . . it’s slowly becoming the laughing stock of motorsports. Like others, I’ll not be watching qualifying in Bahrain. Heck, I might not even watch the race because I’m so irritated by all this “spicing up… Read more »


My prediction for what will finally kill this debacle off – a mechanic getting run down in the pit lane – either that or a wreck in the pit lane as one team releases a car, while another tries to rapidly turn service their car in the pit box so as not to miss the relegation window, while another team is pushing their car back into the garage. It was absolute pandemonium between runs down in the pits last weekend – and unlike on a race weekend, the safety gear was very lacking. So I think it’s only a matter… Read more »


Ow that stove is hot! Better touch it again just to be sure…ouch! Ok, third time lucky!

Paul KieferJr

So, Force India, were you lying then when you said you wanted to go back to the old rules or are you lying now when you said you wanted to keep it the way it is now? God doesn’t like liars. :P


for farmacustas sake what the hell is going on


Just to note I have cancelled my Sky TV subscription in New Zealand due to cost and am now endeavouring to watch dodgy net feeds because despite being in the top 5% of earners in NZ I can no longer justify the expenditure…. PS I watched Spanish feed for the Australian GP and when Alonso had his accident there was an “ayy ayy ayy Alonso. pps Smokin Joe.. wrote a really good blog on the current state of F1… everyone should read it

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x