Give new Formula 1 qualifying format a chance - Claire Williams

Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams believes those not in favour of Formula 1's new qualifying format should reserve judgement until after the Australian Grand Prix

Give new Formula 1 qualifying format a chance - Claire Williams

Under the new system, which makes its debut in Melbourne, the slowest driver will be eliminated after a series of time intervals in a move instigated by F1's bosses to spice up the show for fans.

The revamp met with a lukewarm response from drivers, with Sebastian Vettel saying: "I'm not a fan of the qualifying changes and speaking on behalf of all the drivers, no driver is."

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But Williams said: "Let's wait and see. It's too early to judge. I'd like to get to Melbourne and see how it plays out and then we will comment on it.

"If it doesn't work then fine. We tried. All we are trying to do is make this sport more exciting, which is what everyone wants."

When asked by Autosport if it is a concern that the majority of drivers are not in favour of it, Williams said: "Yes, because they are the ones who are the big players.

"You want to come out with a new regulation and hope people look at it positively.

"But we see in F1 people immediately focusing on the negative rather than saying hold on a minute, let's not criticise until we see it play out."

Williams was among those who voted it through at a Strategy Group meeting last month before it was approved by the F1 Commission.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone then suggested there could be a delay in introducing it because software needed to be rewritten, but that problem has now been overcome.

It then emerged there could be a slight change to the format with Q1 and Q2 adopting the knockout configuration while Q3 retained the previous system, before the World Motor Sport Council opted to go with the original full knockout set-up.

When asked if the uncertainty and negative response had proved damaging to F1, Williams said: "It's not been a smooth ride but that is Formula 1.

"It makes it more exciting for everybody. Bernie came out because there were some issues as to whether we could do it.

"But it wasn't a case of 'we think the idea is not a good one so we are going to have a rethink'.

"It was 'we're going to have to work out whether we can implement it in time for Melbourne'."

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