FEBRUARY 24, 2016
Qualifying tweak for F1
Niki Lauda has shown the thumbs-up to F1's impending change to the qualifying format for 2016.
At meetings in Geneva on Tuesday, the sport collectively agreed that every 90 seconds during qualifying this year, the slowest car should be knocked out.
"This is a good move," F1 legend and Mercedes team chairman Lauda told Speed Week, "because the fans will see more cars on the track.
"We have adopted a meaningful change that will mean no one can afford to just stay in the box as they sometimes did. The new format is easy to implement and a good thing," he added.
Lauda acknowledged, however, that at the Geneva meetings, little else was agreed.
"We agree that the cars for 2017 should be faster and will look aggressive, and then the engine changes come for 2018," he said.
"That will be decided in March, but I am confident we will implement everything."
As for Mercedes' chances of winning a third consecutive world championship in 2016, Lauda sounds bullish.
"Basically, you always have to worry if you've won it two times in a row. But we are well prepared," he said.
"We even do so many kilometres that we have switched the programme to a half-day each for Rosberg and Hamilton to lessen the burden.
"Actually, I was hoping that we would have some faults and defects here in Spain, because the more it happens in testing, the less chance it happens in Australia," added Lauda.
"But we far everything has been perfect."
Mercedes' closest rival in 2016, meanwhile, looks set to be Ferrari.
"First of all I was pleased with the new colours," said Lauda, "which reminds me of my old (1975) car.
"But how they are doing is impossible to assess after two days of testing. We'll see what happens next week here in Barcelona, but the real cards will only be seen in Melbourne," he insisted.