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Published: 15:45 | 4/3/16

New qualifying format in place for season opener

The new elimination-style qualifying system will be in place from the start of the season.

The F1 commission last month unanimously approved the changesthat would see drivers eliminated at different stages of the qualifying segments.

The proposals went before FIA’s World Motor Sport Council on Friday and with no changes advised, the new qualifying format will be in place for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 19.

Under the changes, Q1 will last 16 minutes with the slowest driver eliminated after seven minutes. For the remainder of the segment the slowest driver will be eliminated every 90 seconds.

15 drivers will progress to Q2 with the slowest eliminated after 6 minutes and then every 90 seconds until the 15 minutes are up.

With eight drivers in Q3, the first elimination will take place after five minutes with the slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag. There will be two drivers left for the final 90 seconds of the session.

The decision to press ahead with the changes comes despite Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone calling for the system to be delayed until the fifth race of the season, claiming the new software will not be ready in time.

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