JULY 24, 2000
Two day qualifying supported by Bernie
TWO day qualifying could reappear on the Grand Prix schedule in 2001 if Bernie Ecclestone has his way, according to several F1 teams last week. The question of precisely how to handle the Friday schedule at Grands Prix has been a matter of some debate for a considerable time. Some F1 insiders would like to see Grands Prix meetings adopt a two-day schedule similar to US domestic CART series in a bid to reduce costs, others support the view that there should be six hours of free testing on Friday running straight into two hour-long qualifying sessions the following day.
However Ecclestone is now said to favor the restoration of Friday qualifying, but not as a separate session. Instead, he wants to combined Friday and Saturday times, sure in the knowledge that electronic timing systems have reached a level of sophistication whereby they can instantly update the aggregate lap time during the Saturday session.
This would have two spectacular consequences. It would raise the spectre of unpredictable grid line-ups with consistency and mechanical reliability being rewarded every bit as much as sheer speed. It would also ensure that all teams would have to produce a maximum effort in both sessions. More demanding for the teams, perhaps, but a no-lose situation for race viewer and spectator alike.
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