MARCH 2, 2016
F1 under fire for unprofessional qualifying farce
F1 officials have come under fire for what major newspapers including the Independent and Telegraph are calling the 2016 qualifying "farce".
Mere weeks before the new season, the decision-making F1 Commission agreed to implement a new 'musical chairs' elimination format for qualifying this year.
But F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, reportedly the architect of the scheme, had to admit that his software-writers at Formula One Management are unable to write the necessary software in time.
"You can imagine the high-level meeting where that bubble burst ... and they forgot to ask the people on the ground whether they can do it or not," former driver and now leading British commentator Martin Brundle told the Morning Star newspaper.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg agrees: "It's not very professional the image they are giving with that, going back and forth."
Arguably the bigger issue, however, is that the change had been put into place while so many stakeholders argue that nothing was wrong with the existing format.
"Of all the things I wanted to change, qualifying would probably be the last and that is the route they have decided to take," said Brundle.
McLaren-Honda's Fernando Alonso agrees: "(Spectator) numbers are down in all countries and so they are thinking about new things all the time to regain popularity.
"But some of the things they are thinking are crazy, like the new qualifying system, which is more complex than the one we had. We are giving the fans another headache," he told Spanish radio Cadena Cope.
More diplomatically, Alonso's teammate Jenson Button agreed: "I think everyone understands that a lot of things in formula one have to change.
"It's important that we are looking constantly to improve, I just hope the fans like it and understand it. From my point of view, I'm pretty experienced in formula one and it's quite confusing for me."
Ecclestone said the software should be ready by May's Spanish grand prix, but the latest twist is that Ferrari may nix the idea altogether through its famous veto.
"You can't criticise them (F1) for saying 'Let's try and do something different'," said Brundle, "but to introduce it and then have to pull back is nothing less than embarrassing."
But Rosberg says that stepping back to reconsider the matter is a good move for F1.
"It's such a major change," said the German. "It's good that we are thinking about it."