Formula 1’s new elimination qualifying format has been slammed universally following a lacklustre debut at the Australian Grand Prix.
The new concept, aimed to liven up qualifying and shake up the grid, failed to deliver as Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position, while his rivals elected not to challenge the Brit in the final three and half minutes.
Fans were left without the crescendo qualifying usually produces as Ferraris Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen along with Nico Rosberg elected not to run more than one stint in Q3.
The regular 90 second eliminations of the slowest driver was deemed to be one of the reasons for the poor showing, as the trio did not have time to complete laps having pitted for fresh rubber.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes Formula 1 should apologise to the fans for the disappointing display, while urging the sport to reinstate the old qualifying format for the next race in Bahrain (April 1-3).
“Firstly we should apologise to the fans and the viewers because that is not what qualifying should be,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.
“The intentions were well meaning but we have to accept it hasn’t worked.
“We got it wrong and we have to address it very quickly.
“My personal view is that we go back to what we had for the next race because what we saw today is not good for Formula 1.
“I didn’t like that the fast cars didn’t have a right of reply. There were Ferraris sitting in the garage because there was no point in running again.
“Qualifying should build up to a crescendo and everyone should bolt tyres on to see what they have got and that didn’t happen today.
“It was designed to mix up the grid but it has taken away what the spectacle of qualifying is.
“I will be amazed if nobody agreed (to revert back to the old system). Let’s sort it out for Bahrain.”
Mercedes Nico Rosberg echoed Horner’s view to revert to the old system.
“It is good that F1 tries but we should go back to the other system for the last session especially,” said Rosberg.
Pole-sitter Hamilton and Ferrari’s Vettel agreed that the concept is wrong for F1 saying the outcome seen today was always going to happen.
“We said at the beginning that it was not the right way and you can’t knock it before we’ve tried it,” said Hamilton.
“We have tried it and all the engineers were right.”
“I don’t see why everyone is surprised we all said it was going to happen,” added Vettel.
“We were told to wait and see I don’t think it is very exciting.
“In the end, I don’t think it is the right way to go. The fans want to see me, Lewis, Nico, Kimi and whoever pushing it to the limit. Surely it is the wrong way to go.
Meanwhile, former F1 world champion Niki Lauda criticised the sport’s power brokers for not thinking the system through before agreeing to run it.
“I think it is wrong. It was obvious that when we took the decision nobody thought of all the details,” said Lauda.