MAY 23, 2005
The FIA confirms a change of qualifying
As we reported over the weekend, Formula 1 is to change its qualifying format at the next race, dropping the Sunday morning session and deciding the grid with a single qualifying session involving single timed laps on Saturday afternoon. This will improve the coverage of qualifying, which had virtually disappeared because of the decision to have a second session on Sunday morning. Now, if nothing else, race fans will know on Saturday night who is on pole. What we will not know is who is quick and who is running a lot of fuel because there will no longer be a first session in which cars will run with low fuel loads. The new system of qualifying will also aggravate the problems faced by the cars that have to run first in the session because they will have to deal with slippery conditions. The two-session format did at least give drivers the chance to climb up the grid a little.
The teams all agreed to the move in the course of the Monaco weekend and it seems that the FIA then used the controversial fax vote method to get the agreement of the F1 Commission and then a similar fax vote for the FIA World Motor Sport Council. What is interesting is whether or not the FIA included the teams in the F1 Commission voting or whether it assumed that they had voted by agreeing to ask the commission to consider a rule change. It is an interesting legal argument as to whether or not the two are the same thing. Some of the teams are unhappy with the use of fax votes and claim that they are not legal as there is no mention of them in the Concorde Agreement. This is obviously a matter of interpretation, which seems to be the norm with most of the disputes surrounding the document to which all signatories are bound until the end of 2007.
The FIA has taken to using fax votes for all F1 Commission business in recent months. The last meeting of the F1 Commission in fact was as long ago as June last year and we have heard (but for obvious reasons cannot confirm) that the reason for this is that there may be someone who wants to table a vote of no-confidence against another member of the commission on the agenda of the next meeting. If there is no meeting, of course, there can be no agenda.
When asked why he berates the teams for not coming to his meetings about the future and yet does not call an F1 Commission meeting, FIA President Max Mosley says that it would drive "the poor promoters, some of whom have to come from places like Australia and Brazil, completely mad because they've got to come and sit and listen to this discussion".
Given that they have not had the chance to travel on FIA expenses to Paris for nearly a year now, some of the promoters might enjoy a trip, given that they are used to two or three trips to Paris each year.
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