Formula 1 must stop experimenting in public - Claire Williams

Formula 1 must avoid experimenting in public again after the fiasco of its qualifying system changes, says Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams

Formula 1 must stop experimenting in public - Claire Williams

The elimination-style qualifying system drew criticism following its shock introduction for the Australian Grand Prix.

It was retained for Bahrain despite teams pushing to return to the 2015 system, and a lengthy meeting about qualifying formats on race morning ended in an impasse.

Just as it appeared the FIA and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone would offer only the elimination method or another new system, this time based on aggregate times, for the rest of 2016, they acquiesced to teams' pressure to revert to the 2006-15 format from this weekend's Chinese GP after all.

Williams, who declared herself "relieved" at the outcome, said the main lesson for F1 should be to make decisions with more care and not risk public embarrassment.

"We have learned that we need to take more time to consider proposals that come to us, absolutely," she said.

"You don't want to play out scenarios in the public arena. They should be done behind the scenes."

EDD STRAW: F1's backwards thinking is idiotic

A revamp of both qualifying and the rest of the GP weekend format remains on the cards for 2017.

Williams hopes keeping a stable format for the rest of the year means the next moves will be more carefully considered.

She conceded that in light of declining audiences, both on TV and at tracks, the race weekend format needs to be analysed.

"It will give us a period of stability during which time we can sit down to properly analyse what a potentially new 2017 qualifying system could look like," she said.

"We have to look at a race weekend with a declining audience coming to watch live and turning on their televisions.

"We have to look at what we are putting on, at the track and away from the track, to make sure we are retaining the audience and attracting a new generation of fans."

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