Formula One's governing body and team bosses have scrapped plans to change the qualifying procedures after next Sunday's French Grand Prix.
"The FIA (International Automobile Federation) did not want to go ahead with the qualifying that is being proposed," Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone told Reuters today.
"It will stay the same as we've got now. No change at all - just as boring as it was before," he said after a meeting of the FIA's Formula One commission in a hotel at London's Heathrow airport.
The 10 teams' bosses had previously agreed unanimously to change the controversial single lap format from the British Grand Prix on July 11th to one involving two free-for-all sessions with aggregate times deciding the starting grid.
FIA president Max Mosley said Monday's decision came after some teams worried about how much television exposure they might get while sponsors also expressed concern.
"There was also a feeling that the proposal wasn't much different to what we were doing in 2002 and maybe it needed something a little bit more radical," he said.
Mosley said the plan now was to do some market research and "ask the public what they want - probably through the television companies, but that's a matter for Bernie. I think he would prefer to change but I think he's quite easy about it."
Team bosses had expressed reservations about changing qualifying which has already been altered twice since the end of last year.
The format that started the year was derided by broadcasters and insiders alike as being too long and boring and was modified after a handful of races.
BAR boss David Richards said at the last US Grand Prix that the proposals would make racing less exciting and more predictable and he did not think it was the right way ahead.
Jaguar boss Tony Purnell did not try to hide his disappointment, however. "We announced a change, everybody agreed to it and now we've suddenly had it stopped," he told Reuters. "I'm bemused by it. I think it's bad for Formula One, it sends a bad message out.
"Bernie was the prime mover and I was a bit surprised that he didn't seem very passionate about keeping it. I'm a bit lost by it. I'm mystified."
Eddie Jordan said that a strong objection to the change came from Minardi's Paul Stoddart, who feared the revival of a defunct rule under which drivers are excluded if they fail to register a qualifying time within 107 percent of the fastest.
"Paul claimed that there were at least three or four races where [the change] would make it very difficult to comply with that and on that basis he didn't therefore support what he had signed," said Jordan.
"It was agreed therefore to get further evidence."
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