MAY 29, 2004
New qualifying from Silverstone
Yesterday afternoon the Formula 1 team principals met to discuss possible changes to the qualifying format. It was decided that from the British Grand Prix the system will be completely changed with a 20 minute session followed by a 20 minute break followed by a second 20 minute session on Saturday afternoon. The drivers will be required to have two runs in each session and the grid will be decided by the aggregate of the lap times (the times will be added together). The cars will then be taken into parc ferme but on Sunday morning the teams will be allowed to refuel, putting in as much or as little fuel as they desire for the race.
Not everyone is in agreement with the move but as Bernie Ecclestone is the promoter of Formula 1, the team bosses agreed to follow his wishes and if they fail to produce the desired result will leave the blame firmly at his door.
The initial reaction in the F1 paddock is that the new format will be no better than the existing situation and will have a marked effect on the races because the grid will now be based solely on the outright speed of the cars. With the current situation this will mean that we will go back to a situation in which there will be two Ferraris on the front row of the grid and they will lead the field away in the races.
The team bosses have agreed the switch in theory but have still to sign for it but if all goes to play it will be agreed by the F1 Commission at the end of June and will be confirmed by the World Motor Sport Council after that.
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