MARCH 24, 2004
A change to qualifying
The FIA World Motor Sport Council met in Paris today and agreed to change the format of qualifying in Formula 1. The first part of Saturday's session will now move forward to 13.00 and there will then be a gap before the start of the second session at 14.00. This means that the other Saturday sessions have had to be moved forward by an hour.
It will not make a huge difference from the very tedious sessions seen in Melbourne and Malaysia. At Sepang last weekend the first session lasted 59 minutes because Malaysia is one of the longer F1 tracks. The only places where that is likely to happen again (although that will depend on the weather) are Spa (where the first session will go way beyond an hour because of the length of the track), Japan and the Nurburgring.
All the other circuits should get through the whole field in about 45-50 minutes.
The rule change makes little difference to the overall F1 show but until the teams get together and agree something better, the sport will continue to suffer. this is playing into the hands of those who are seeking to have Friday dumped and F1 to reduce to two-day meetings. This will strengthen the argument that there should be more races although the costs of the races is not going to reduce as hotels in race locations will continue to charge five night minimums even though the rooms will only be used for three nights.
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