Small teams hail new qualifying format

Formula 1 teams bosses Eddie Jordan and Minardi's Paul Stoddart, both of whom are still chasing sponsorship to boost their budgets for the 2003 season, declared the new single-lap qualifying format a success now that they are guaranteed television exposure during the one hour sessions on Friday and Saturday

Small teams hail new qualifying format

Jordan, whose cars qualified 14th and 17th, was still undecided on the sporting spectacle but was otherwise pleased with the results. "Maybe because it was all new I was slightly apprehensive," he said. "But I got three and a half minutes of uninterrupted TV coverage, it was more equitable, it keeps sponsors happy and I like that.

"It was different, I'm still not sure if it was better or not, but at least I'm guaranteed coverage."

Stoddart, whose team is a perenial tail-ender and is running tight on funds to complete the season was more enthusiastic: "It was very, very exciting. On Friday you see the closest thing to the old qualifying because everyone runs low fuel and from what I gather back in the UK it seemed to go down well. If we get people interested and talking about F1, that has to be good."

The BMW WilliamsF1 Team, as one of the top three, stands to lose out through the more equitable distribution of TV time, but team principal Frank Williams believes that time will tell whether the new format achieves its aims: "The two matters which drove it most were, 1) making sure that everyone got a share of the TV, and 2) spicing up the show. The first part is undeniable and the second bit will need to be answered by fans. I guess it's the TV figures that will tell."

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