Software issue delays new F1 qualifying format

Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone

Formula 1’s radical elimination qualifying system is unlikely to debut until the Spanish Grand Prix, according to the sport’s boss Bernie Ecclestone.

The new qualifying concept was agreed by the teams at last week’s meeting of the F1 Commission at Geneva.

It was hoped the format would be introduced from the start of the new season once ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council next month.

However, Ecclestone has now revealed that F1 does not currently have the timing system software to implement the concept, which is likely to delay its introduction until May’s visit to Spain.

As a result, next month’s traditional Australian Grand Prix season opener at Albert Park will continue to utilise the existing qualifying format.

“The new qualifying won’t happen because we can’t get everything together in time,” Ecclestone told British newspaper The Independent.

“It was going to come in at the start of this year, but we are not going to be able to get all the software done in time, so the qualifying changes will probably be in Spain.

“In Australia it will be the old qualifying. All of the software has got to be written so it’s not easy.”

Ecclestone has since confirmed he was keen to see time penalties introduced into qualifying to mix up the grid, an idea which was declined by the teams.

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