F1 teams will master elimination qualifying quickly, Horner says

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Formula 1's new qualifying format will swiftly be figured out by all the teams

F1 teams will master elimination qualifying quickly, Horner says

Following meetings of the Strategy Group and F1 Commission in Geneva last week, it was announced that qualifying will be changed to a knock-out system.

However, on Saturday, Bernie Ecclestone revealed that the system would not be used until May's Spanish Grand Prix at the earliest, owing to the time taken to develop the required software.

When introduced, the slowest drivers will be dropped at regular intervals during the three qualifying sessions, until only a polesitter remains.

The new formula has received mixed reviews from inside the paddock, with Horner suggesting while there may be some confusion at first, the quickest will ultimately come to the fore.

"It's not a big departure from the current system," assessed Horner, speaking to Autosport.

"It just puts more emphasis on getting it right on your initial runs.

"You will probably run a similar amount of tyres through the three stages of qualifying, so you just have to get your timing right.

"Of course, if there is a red or yellow flag, that is obviously going to create a mix around on the grid.

"So while there may be a slight element of randomness to it, teams will quickly learn to navigate their way through it."

Horner has confirmed the idea behind the switch came from F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, backed by numerous circuit promoters, leading to the teams being "happy to support it".

The general feeling, however, is there was little wrong with the old system, and attention should have addressed Friday's practice sessions if promoters were looking for ways to spice up their show.

Asked why qualifying was targeted and not Friday, Horner replied: "The promoter [Ecclestone], within his contracts with the different circuits, I'm sure has elements where it has to be a three-day event. It is what it is.

"It was felt there was a chance of a greater element of randomness coming out of qualifying to give us a slightly more random grid without artificially inverting grids, or anything like that.

"Let's see, let's give it a go. We shouldn't be afraid of change."

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