FIA approves new F1 qualifying format
By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One's governing body approved on Friday a new elimination-style qualifying format that will be implemented from this month's Australian season-opener, despite some drivers questioning why it was necessary.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) announced the change in a statement after a meeting of its World Motor Sport Council in Geneva.
The format is the same as one agreed unanimously last month by the Formula One Commission which includes teams and stakeholders.
A source present at the meeting told Reuters that problems involving timing software that could have postponed the implementation of the new format had been resolved.
The first qualifying session of the season will be in Melbourne on March 19.
Under the new procedure, the slowest drivers will be eliminated as the three sessions progress rather than at the end of each phase as was the case last season.
The first session will last 16 minutes with the slowest driver eliminated once seven minutes have lapsed. Another six will follow at 90-second intervals with 15 going through to the second phase.
The next session will last 15 minutes with the slowest driver eliminated after six. The same 90-second sequence follows until eight drivers are left. Continued...