Qualifying Talks Go On at Imola

Formula One commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone will meet team bosses again in the Imola paddock on Saturday in a bid to finalise a decision on a new qualifying system this season

Qualifying Talks Go On at Imola

Ecclestone met with all the team principals except Ferrari boss Jean Todt on Friday afternoon to look at yet another revision to the format after this season's change to aggregate and Sunday qualifying proved unpopular.

But the teams are determined not to make another knee-jerk reaction and, although things could change this season, Minardi team chief Paul Stoddart insisted they will not choose a new format unless it is for the long-term.

"We are very aware that we are not going to go changing qualifying again without really thinking it through," said Stoddart. "I don't think the public can take any more knee-jerk reactions.

"We are going to have another meeting tomorrow but I don't think that is going to achieve an agreement. It might achieve a movement towards an agreement but I think we have learned from the sins of our past.

"We have made too many changes to qualifying over successive years and it has been going backwards. The 2003 move was pretty well accepted by everyone, then in 2004 we just crammed two qualifyings on a Saturday, and who wants that?

"This year we went from the sublime to the ridiculous and cranked in Sunday morning qualifying - gee, that's really popular - ­ and aggregate times just to really mess it all up, and now we are getting back to real world stuff."

Ecclestone has called for the current single-lap qualifying to be scrapped in favour of a return to the old-style system where drivers were allowed to take their flying laps whenever they wanted during a one-hour session.

But there are many other options also on the table and while there is a unanimous dislike of Sunday qualifying there appears to be some way to go before an alternative is agreed upon.

"I wouldn't say a definite no (for this season) but we will think it through and whatever change we make will have to be for more than just this season," said Stoddart.

"The next change we do will, at minimum, see out the Concorde Agreement. The next change will be for what is left of 05, if it is, but it will certainly be for 2006 and 2007, so we are going to put stability back in the sport."

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