It was announced late last week that the F1 teams’ request to revert to the 2015 qualifying format before the Chinese Grand Prix had been passed to the next stage of the decision approval process. The FIA has officially confirmed that the 2015 qualifying format will return for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix and the remaining races in 2016.
The request to restore the old qualifying system that was used in 2015 was originally launched by the F1 team bosses the morning prior to the Australian Grand Prix. However, the plan was short-lived and was kiboshed by Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone. With no improvements to the show in Bahrain, the F1 team bosses agreed that the new system was bad and they resubmitted their request to rollback to the previous qualifying format.
On April 7, the FIA confirmed that the proposal had been approved by Todt and Ecclestone and was ready to move onto the next step in the formal process. The proposal needed to be approved by the World Motor Sport Council before the changes could officially be made. Today, it was officially confirmed by the FIA that the World Motor Sport Council had held an electronic vote between the members and agreed to restore the 2015 qualifying format for the Chinese Grand Prix and beyond.
This means that the six slowest cars will be eliminated at the end of the first qualifying session and again at the end of the second qualifying session. The changes will apply to the Chinese Grand Prix and the FIA has agreed to not make any more changes to the format in the 2016 season, although they have agreed to evaluate the system for some changes in 2017.
With the dreadful qualifying finally put to rest, the chaos which is the Formula One government is finally free of the team bosses’ complaints. It’s not clear what changes the FIA could make to the format in 2017, but fans can rest easy for now, knowing that their beloved qualifying is safe for at least one more season.