Teams Approve Qualifying Change

Formula One teams reached a unanimous agreement on Friday to scrap the unpopular aggregate qualifying system and run just one session on Saturday to decide the grid, Autosport-Atlas can exclusively reveal

Teams Approve Qualifying Change

The FIA said on Friday that the 10 teams had already "agreed unanimously to a proposal to change the qualifying procedure for Formula One with immediate effect".

The proposal is now in the hands of the Formula One Commission and the World Council and the FIA said the results of a fax vote should be through in time to change for the next race at the Nurburgring.

The change is yet another in a long list of modifications to qualifying which began with the introduction of one-lap qualifying two-and-a-half years ago.

The first solution saw two sessions run over Friday and Saturday then they were put back to back on a Saturday before moving the second to Sunday this year.

The new system will see just one single qualifying session, which will be run on Saturday starting at one o'clock, with cars in full race set-up.

Teams would be unable to refuel the cars or modify them between qualifying and the race. The running order would be the same as it is at the moment on Saturday, with the winner of the previous race having the advantage of going out last.

The Sunday session has found little favour with broadcasters, some of whom have declined to show it live, while other influential figures have been scathing.

Since the old free-for-all Saturday session was abolished at the end of 2002 for a single lap format, there have been experiments with qualifying on Friday and Saturday as well as running two sessions together on Saturday.

Many still hanker after the old days, before varying fuel levels made qualifying a strategic mystery, when fans could be sure that the fastest driver was on pole.

Fiat and Ferrari head Luca di Montezemolo, speaking at the San Marino Grand Prix last month, derided a system that left fans in the dark about who was on pole position when they picked up their Sunday morning newspapers.

World Champion Michael Schumacher on Thursday backed a change to the current system.

"I think that is reasonable but it would be nice to stick with that qualifying for once," said Schumacher. "When we change it hopefully we won't change it again and again."

The move means there will be no F1 action on Sunday mornings.

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Author Will Gray
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