Ecclestone: I say we continue with the new qualifying format

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F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone appears to have made an about turn as he confirmed reports that the controversial ‘musical chairs’ qualifying format could actually have survived the 2016 season opener.

After the farcical debut session in Melbourne last Saturday, team bosses got together before Sunday’s race and voted unanimously to scrap it ahead of Bahrain.

“I was also confused as it was the first run and all the variables couldn’t have been predicted, like how everything was decided in Q3,” Ecclestone told La Gazzetta dello Sport on Thursday. “We can improve.”

Indeed, reports earlier on Thursday suggested that the only proposal forwarded to the F1 Commission for approval by fax this week is actually a hybrid combination of the new format and the former, popular 2015 qualifying.

“The teams are discussing that and they want to go back (to the 2015 format),” Ecclestone said. “If I were to give an opinion, I would say we will continue with the format from Australia.”

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It is believed the Bahrain format could be the ‘musical chairs’ elements with 90 second eliminations for Q1 and Q2, before a 2015-style Q3.

“I am a prudent man, and new things must be tested,” Ecclestone continued. The new qualifying caused a bit of shock, but maybe we can salvage the good of the format.”

“I am an entrepreneur and I must sell F1 to the race organisers. That is why I have to find the best solution and why having [drivers] eliminated every 90 seconds could be exciting,” he added.

Immediately after the Melbourne qualifying fiasco Ecclestone was quick to point fingers, “This idea was the FIA’s. If we can get them to agree to change and we agree to change, we can change it.”

“Or if we get all the teams to agree with us, we can change it,” he added.

In a poll conducted on this site 98% of F1 fans who shared their opinion gave the new qualifying format a resounding thumbs down.