MARCH 19, 2004
F1 team bosses discuss qualifying formats
The top Formula 1 team bosses were on the spot in Malaysia on the subject of what they would like to see from qualifying this yea and the consensus was that the big teams would all like to go back to the situation where the drivers all have 12 laps to go for times.
"Maybe it was better as it was in the past," said Ferrari's Jean Todt. "They were complaining that for half an hour nothing was happening. Everyone thought by having one single lap it would make this thing more unpredictable and it is more unpredictable. But now it is more unpredictable and people are not happy - so let's make it more predictable."
Frank Williams agreed.
"I would love to go back to four sets of tyres or three sets of tyres and a shorter period of time than 60 minutes," he said. "I prefer 40 minutes with the four sets. But the push came from the need for the smaller teams who are receiving zero share of exposure. They needed something and they were given something that they could sell to their sponsors. At least both cars on the Friday and both cars on the Saturday will have a total of, I think, 12 laps of exposure - an important concession for them."
Ron Dennis of McLaren said that he would also like to go back to the old days.
"If I had my way I would revert all the way back," he said, "put two engines into the race weekend with one engine going in for the Sunday and go right back to the 12 laps and a combination of practice as it was. It did mean the fastest people were at the front of the grid. I am a purist when it comes to Formula 1 and I would prefer to revert to that. But I am only one opinion and I can sympathise with those teams that didn't get as much publicity as some of the larger teams and it is that sympathy that saw several of the larger teams be supportive of these changes because it is wrong to just say no to everything. You have to experiment but if you experiment and get it wrong then reverse out again."
Tony Purnell of Jaguar said that he preferred qualifying as it was in 2003 - with one lap runs on both Friday and Saturday.
"I didn't see a chorus of disapproval in the press or the media, the way it worked out I thought it had a nice focus on the Friday and some intrigue with the fuel on the Saturday. I didn't see a need to change and I would go back to last year."
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