The 2016 Formula 1 season will get underway without the new qualifying format, at least initially. It seems that a software issue is behind the delay of the launch of the new qualifying system that will see a car eliminated every 90 seconds throughout the three sessions.
The first race of the season is already taking place in a few weeks time and Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is sure that technical issues surrounding the new qualifying format means it will be impossible to roll it out when the teams head to Melbourne, Australia on March 18.
During an interview with the BBC, Ecclestone explained, ” My guys who do the timing said: ‘Mr E, we don’t want to be put in the position because we don’t think we can get it done properly in time.” The software that controls the new qualifying system is the cause of the delay.
The new qualifying system will retain having three qualifying sessions. The first qualifying session will run for 16 minutes. After seven minutes, the slowest driver will be eliminated and another driver with the slowest lap time will be eliminated every 90 seconds. This will go on throughout the two other qualifying session with each succeeding session also becoming one minute shorter than the last. Throughout the end of the Q3, there should only be two drivers remaining on the track for the final 90 seconds of qualifying. They will now fight for pole position.
Ecclestone hopes the new qualifying format will give drivers and teams an element of surprise when it does roll out. In other words, he wants to introduce a little uncertainty so that “the guy that’s on pole won the last race, for example, we’d have to come up with some sort of a format to say in the end he starts 10th.”
The new qualifying format is reportedly expected to debut during the fifth race of the season.