Formula 1 is set to discuss the possibility of introducing a revised four-part qualifying format for 2019.
The new system would see the current format fundamentally retained, though split into four sessions rather than three.
Each part of qualifying would then be shorter, with four cars eliminated at the end of each, leaving just eight to progress into the final shootout for pole.
Those who don’t make the final part of qualifying would have a choice of tyre, leaving two additional cars with a free choice for Sunday’s race.
It would also increase the risk for leading teams if they chose to gamble on a set of slower tyres to save rubber for later in the session.
It’s thought the revised format would help boost the excitement of qualifying and help spark better racing by producing more unpredictable grids.
The discussion, set to be held at the next Strategy Group meeting, is being driven by F1 itself and comes off the back of market research the sport has been conducting.
“It’s more something that’s come from F1,”explained F1 race director Charlie Whiting.
“They’ve been doing a lot of research among fans, and they feel this is one of the things that the fans would like.
“Slightly shorter sessions, slightly shorter time between them, four go out in Q1, four, four, leaving eight. I personally think it’s quite a nice idea, but that’s not my decision.”
A revised format would have implications on tyre allocation, with discussions also likely to cover off whether changes would need to be made to the number of sets teams have available.
“Our next action is to see exactly what would be required,” said Whiting.
“I can’t honestly remember what Q4 was in length – I think it was 10 minutes – and thus whether or not you could do two runs with two sets of tyres in Q4. That’s something that needs to be looked at carefully.”
F1 moved away from the current format at the start of 2016 with a complicated and unpopular knock-out style process that was abandoned after just two races.
The current, three-part style format was introduced in 2006 with a number of tweaks, primarily to session length, in the years since.