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Published: 12:08 | 3/4/16

We'd 'look like fools' - Wolff

Mercedes boss rues qualifying gaffes

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff believes that Formula 1's chiefs would "look like fools" were another unsuccessful qualifying experiment to be attempted at the Chinese Grand Prix.

A new format for qualifying was introduced at the season-opening Australia Grand Prix, before being tweaked for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The system features drivers being eliminated at 90-second intervals but has effectively resulted in lifeless conclusions to sessions, with competitors opting to record early 'banker' laps before finishing their work long before the chequered flag.

In addition, viewers have complained en masse that one's focus tends to be on the standings and countdown clock, rather than the on-track action.

"I think after Q1 and Q2 (in Bahrain), I don't see what you can like," said Wolff.

"It's very difficult to follow as to who is in and out, and we have a duty to simplify the sport rather than add complexity.

"It doesn't mix up the field enough that would make the race more entertaining, so I hope we can have some reasonable discussions."

A return to last season's format is a possibility for the upcoming event in China, reported Wolff following a meeting with FIA president Jean Todt.

"When I spoke to Jean last week he said he wanted to approach things in a structured way," said Wolff.

"He felt with Q1 and Q2 there was maybe something to learn, and therefore he wanted to go for the Melbourne format again, or the hybrid version to find out if it was all bad.

"If it was all bad then the most realistic scenario would be to go back to 2015 qualifying, and he said that to me.

"We're not in a position anymore, after changing twice, to experiment for Shanghai. We would look like fools.

"Maybe there is a different format that could be interesting. He said a single-lap shootout for the last eight drivers, which could be interesting.

"But we need to properly assess it, and if we find all the data and information we collect make it look like an interesting format, we should implement it in the rules and race it next year, but in a structured way."

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