Qualifying set to change again

Formula 1's controversial new qualifying system planned to be introduced from the start of next season now looks almost certain to be ditched, high level sources have told autosport.com. The dual session, with final qualifying due to take place on Sunday morning, has received a host of complaints since first being announced

Qualifying set to change again

The move to abandon the Sunday morning session, first suggested after the success of such a scheme at this year's Japanese Grand Prix after Saturday running was cancelled because of a typhoon scare, has been prompted after television companies expressed their dislike for the new system.

Insiders claim that the television companies have said they will either not broadcast the qualifying session at all, or do so only as a highlights package before the race, because of their tight schedules and the fact that Formula 1 already fills a large part of their Sunday afternoon timetable.

Sources claim that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone brought the matter up at this week's team bosses' meeting and that the teams have now vowed to go away and come back with a better suggestion for a system that can take place on Saturday afternoon.

One team boss told autosport.com: "It is clear that our customers [the television companies] are not happy and that means we have got to do something about it. We are all going to go away and think about it and I expect there to be some change - although a final decision may only be taken much closer to Melbourne."

One suggestion that has gathered some support is for an hour-long session split into two 25-minute sessions of running with a 10-minute break in the middle. Drivers will be allowed six laps in both sessions to set their times, with the runs in the second session taking place with race settings and race levels of fuel.

Speaking to autosport.com last month, Ecclestone admitted that there was a mood for change to be made to qualifying - which has yet to find universal support for its format since it was first changed to a single-lap session at the start of 2003.

"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 what we had this year. This is better than that but it is still not good. We are going to try and open the doors again on that question."

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