Fresh debate over qualifying

Plans for a new qualifying system, which will see grid positions decided in a single-lap session on Sunday morning, could still be changed before the start of the 2005 season, sport supremo Bernie Ecclestone hinted on Tuesday after the Formula 1 team bosses' meeting

Fresh debate over qualifying

Off the back of the decision to abandon turning the Friday of grand prix meetings into test sessions, Ecclestone said that there was now growing unhappiness at the proposed qualifying format, which still comprises two unpopular hour-long, single-car sessions.

"People are still upset about qualifying and still would like to see it changed," said Ecclestone. "We got a little bit rail-roaded into what we have agreed to because we were in a position where if we didn't agree this, we would have [been stuck with] what we had this year. This [the latest format] is better than that but it is still not good. We are going to try and open the doors again on that question.

"Generally the meeting was bloody good, everyone at least got their heads together and realised we are still in the entertainment business rather than a sport and want to give something back to the public, we want to see better racing and we will do whatever we can do to make sure it happens."

On the subject of the teams' proposal for Friday testing sessions, which was linked to the 10-test-days per season plan (Click HERE for separate story), Ecclestone admitted that it was simply too late to implement the necessary regulations for 2005. "Friday's can't happen," said Ecclestone. "It would need to go to to the F1 Commission and all the regulations have to be in at the end of October, any other changes that take place will have to take place with unanimous agreement of the teams."

The plans to change Fridays have also been abandoned because there will still be a need in 2005 to have tyre testing away from grand prix meetings - which is why the teams have settled on a 24-day limit rather than the previous anticipated ten days.

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