Bernie Ecclestone declares F1's new qualifying format 'pretty crap'

Bernie Ecclestone has called the debut for Formula 1's new qualifying format "pretty crap" after watching it on television

The F1 supremo is not in Australia for the opening grand prix of the season, but he spoke to Autosport shortly after the session finished, with Lewis Hamilton taking his 50th career pole position.

"I watched it, but I have to say I wasn't enthusiastic about it from day one," said Ecclestone.

"It was pretty crap. But this is what we've got, until we can change it.

"The only thing about this [format] is that the quick guys could have run off the road, or done anything a little bit silly, and then you would get a mixed-up grid, which is what we wanted.

"It just happens that Mercedes are still very, very good."

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Ecclestone said he was "sure" the format could be revised in time for the second round of the season in Bahrain on the first weekend of April, but he warned against simply going back to the previous format.

"If we go back to the old system, I tell you what would happen: Mercedes would be first and second," he said. "Pretty simple.

"What I don't want to see is where you and I could predict how the grid is going to be for the start of a race, and how that race is going to finish.

"You and I could sell everything we've got and put our money on Hamilton winning. It's not what the public want.

"If you are a fan and you are on the way to a race we should be discussing whether or not Hamilton has to push, whether the Ferraris are quick, or maybe somebody else comes through, but they can't do that any more.

"That's what the problem is."

Ecclestone again outlined the idea he put forward to change qualifying for this year, with race winners picking up time penalties to be added to their best laps.

"My idea was a simple one - you leave qualifying alone," he said.

"It's been good for the last 60 years, and it's good for the guy that wants to have more poles than anybody else, and he should be allowed that.

"But I wanted to take the results of the last race, and the guy that won that race, would have so many seconds, or tenths of a second, added to his qualifying time.

"So that might put the guy on pole in sixth or seventh or wherever [on the grid], and then we would get a mixed-up grid and some good racing for at least half the race.

"Obviously the poleman would still have a good chance of winning."

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