Formula 1 drivers stunned by qualifying format change u-turn

Leading Formula 1 drivers have expressed surprise that qualifying remains unaltered for this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix

Formula 1 drivers stunned by qualifying format change u-turn

The drivers, along with team principals and fans, were almost universal in their condemnation of the new elimination format that had made its debut at the season-opening race in Australia.

IN QUOTES: How paddock reacted to Melbourne qualifying

Initially it appeared as if a change would be made with immediate effect for the Sakhir race, only for a u-turn to be performed when that suggestion failed to gain the unanimity required at F1 Commission level.

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel proclaimed himself "disappointed" F1 had not reverted back to the former system when there had seemed such a clear consensus.

"Put it this way, you sell ice cream. You sell vanilla and everyone that comes to your shop asks for chocolate ice cream," he said.

"The next day you open, you expect to sell chocolate ice cream, but instead you decide to sell vanilla again.

"Usually you do what your clients would like you to do, so you're not really doing the job by doing the exact opposite."

Asked for his thoughts on qualifying, McLaren's Jenson Button said: "The same as everyone else's probably.

"I am surprised [it has not changed]. Hopefully it's a better show than it was at the last race, and if it's not, hopefully we make the right decision to go back."

Vettel's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen does not believe the scenario will unfold any differently than in Australia, when all the action was front-loaded in Q1 before a quiet Q3.

"I guess it's going to be more or less the same," said Raikkonen.

"It's like I've said before, we don't make the rules. We will try to make the best out of it and see how it goes."

Renault's Jolyon Palmer was one of the few drivers who enjoyed the new system given the action he was involved in to get through Q1, but even he expressed shock an alternative has not been implemented.

"Q3 was obviously disappointing, especially for the fans," he said.

"I didn't take part in it, but I am surprised they kept it.

"It seemed like it was an easy fix to go back to the old way because the new way seemed unanimously unpopular."

Team-mate Kevin Magnussen felt the u-turn element was particularly frustrating.

"I'm surprised it's been retained because we were told it wasn't," he said.

"We were told it was going to go back to normal, so it's annoying to get back to where we are now."

Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton said the situation typified the issues with F1's governance he has recently criticised.

"There's never a clear-cut decision. It's back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. One minute it's one way, one minute it's another way," he said.

"It's interesting considering the fans were so upset about it, so unhappy with how it went, that we've stuck with it."

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