Honda website
Honda website

MARCH 13, 2004

F1 decision-making system fails again

The way decisions are made in Formula 1 has once again reared its ugly head - and the result is that the hugely unpopular qualifying structure tried for the first time in Australia will remain in place. Bernie Ecclestone asked the teams late last week if they would be willing to change the format but as always the teams were unable to agree. Three teams rejected the idea of changing the format. It is possible that in order to keep the broadcasters happy the first session would not be televised and the gap between the two sessions would be increased.

The new system, which was agreed by the team bosses last autumn was heavily criticised by some of those who actually voted through the system, by fans, media and broadcasters after a very dull show in Melbourne. But now no-one can agree on how to make a change or whether to make a change at all. This is all playing into the hands of those who seek to create two-day meetings and thus increase the number of races in a season. But teams are hugely opposed to this idea as well as each new race costs them more money. Having said that, the team bosses recently agreed to increase the number of races to 18 this year because they were offered more cash by Formula One Management.

The interesting thing now will be to see how the broadcasters suffer when the qualifying system can be properly judged: when the racing returns to Europe and there is a proper comparison with viewing figures from previous seasons.