F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone says the FIA has scrapped plans to change the format of qualifying for next month’s British Grand Prix.
F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone says governing body FIA has scrapped plans to change the format of qualifying for next month’s British Grand Prix.
Ecclestone, who has criticised the current one-lap format as not exciting enough, said after a meeting of the Formula One Commission at Heathrow Airport that the FIA had vetoed an idea to replace it with two sessions. Teams had come up with a revised system that would see two 25-minute sessions in which drivers would have to complete a total of 12 laps.
The FIA, concerned that a new format would cut the television exposure for smaller teams, rejected the proposals during the meeting. Next month’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone was to have been the first event to feature the new system which was designed to give viewers a more interesting Saturday qualifying.
Jaguar Racing team boss Tony Purnell was left “bemused” at the FIA’s about-face: “We announced a change, everybody agreed – and now we’ve suddenly had it stopped. I think it’s bad for Formula One, it sends a bad message out.”
Jordan Cosworth team boss Eddie Jordan claimed Minardi Principal Paul Stoddart was concerned about the system’s subsequent restoration of the 107 per cent qualifying rule.
Meanwhile, teams have been told that they have two months to slow F1 cars down. If they fail, FIA President Max Mosley warned at a London meeting of the F1 Commission that compulsory changes on the grounds of safety will be imposed.
He said the World Motor Sport Council would be advised on Wednesday. “I’ve told them I’m going to ask [the Council] to give formal notice to the Technical Working Group to come up with changes to slow the cars,” Mosley added.
The Briton wants teams to adopt a 2,4-litre V8 engine formula but Williams’ partner BMW, in particular, threatened to quit F1 under those conditions.
Mosley said BMW, which favours a V10, had to decide whether it “wanted to be in [F1] or not.”