FIA to tweak qualifying for Bahrain

The FIA is to revise the rules for qualifying in time for the Bahrain Grand Prix in a bid to ensure there is no repeat of the controversy that marred the session in Malaysia, autosport.com has learned

FIA to tweak qualifying for Bahrain

In Sepang, a quirk in the current regulations meant that several drivers were touring slowly back to the pits in a bid to conserve fuel while other drivers were on their final qualifying laps.

This led to dangerous scenes when Nick Heidfeld and Fernando Alonso had to weave their way past much slower cars, and resulted in Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton being penalized for blocking their rivals.

With that scenario having prompted widespread calls for the qualifying rules to change, the FIA is to issue an imminent clarification to the teams imposing a maximum laptime for drivers in qualifying.

This will prevent drivers from going too slowly after they have finished their qualifying runs.

It is similar to the rule that is in place for drivers on their reconnaissance laps to the grid - which was prompted by fears of collisions between cars going slowly to conserve fuel and those going fast to evaluate their set-up.

An FIA spokesman confirmed that teams will be notified of the decision to impose a maximum time limit, which is likely to be 120 percent of a normal lap.

"The matter is under discussion and our clarification to the teams and drivers will be that cars returning to the pits having completed their flying lap or laps will be required to do so within a time that we will set," the spokesman told autosport.com.

"This could be approximately 120% of the 'normal' time as we do to prevent drivers going very slowly to the grid to save fuel."

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