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Published: 12:16 | 27/2/16

F1 qualifying format changes delayed

Software problems delay qualifying revamp

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that the introduction of a new elimination qualifying format will be delayed until the fifth race of the season.

He explained that the new software controlling the system will not

be ready on time for the season opener in three weeks.

"My guys who do the timing said: 'Mr E, we don't want to be put in the position because we don't think we can get it done properly in time'," he said.

Ecclestone also revealed that the new system, which will see the slowest car being knocked out every 90 seconds in each of the three qualifying sections, wasn't his idea but would go ahead as planned.

However, there has now been a problem with the system which will delay its introduction for the first four races at least.

"It's not quite that easy," Ecclestone added.

"You've got all the graphics to go on the screen.

"If you're going to try and explain it to the public properly, it's not just a case of 'OK, the guy was the last one, bye-bye'. You can't just do that.

"We'll have to deal with it. I've told the FIA this and asked them what they'd like to do with it but the bottom line is there's not a lot they can do with it because we do all the timekeeping. So, that's it."

The idea behind the new qualifying format is to introduce an element of uncertainty that could lead to cars qualifying out of position, but Ecclestone said he had a different idea for shaking things up.

"I don't want to touch the current qualifying, which I think is good," he added.

"What I've said was, if the guy that's on pole won the last race, for example, we'd have to come up with some sort of a format to say in the end he starts 10th. And the guy who was third in the last race starts maybe eighth or something like that.

"And then you will find you get a whole mix-up of the grid and some of the guys who don't get as much TV coverage will be up at the front.

"Because you can guarantee the guy who's on pole will still win the race but it ain't going to be like pole man disappears and that's it.

"People at the time that don't want any change at all thought: 'Well, Ecclestone's going to push through something so we might as well agree with that rather than have something that is a bit more drastic'.

"Because it could happen that the guy on pole doesn't get through the pack.

"Monaco, Hungary - there's lots of places where you wouldn't want to put your money on the guy coming through the field."

By: Kieran O'Daly

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