Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff isn’t expecting the qualifying session to be any more entertaining in Bahrain, after plans to revert to the old format failed to receive unanimous approval.
Formula 1 introduced an elimination style qualifying format for this season, with drivers eliminated every 90 seconds towards the end of the session.
However, the move backfired, with drivers restraining from setting laps towards the end of Q3, preventing a late shootout for pole position.
The format received universal criticism, with teams announcing their intent to ditch the system with immediate effect.
However, only a couple of days at a Strategy Group meeting, the old format failed to receive unanimous support, leaving things as it is for Bahrain.
Wolff, who was vocal of his criticism of new qualifying, says fans will be devoid of an interesting battle this weekend.
“This weekend we will see the new qualifying system continue after a less-than-impressive debut in Australia,’’ Wolff was quoted in Mercedes’ Bahrain race preview.
“The teams were unanimous in their opinion of it on Sunday in Melbourne and it wasn’t a positive opinion. We haven’t found the right format with this change and it’s hard to see how it might be more entertaining for the fans this weekend in Bahrain.“
“The fans want close racing, in a format they can understand, between the best drivers and cars in the world – in that order. We should be capable of delivering that to the people in the grandstands and watching around the world,’’ he added.
Wolff is expecting Ferrari to be even closer to his outfit this weekend, after the Scuderia jumped to the lead during the early stages of the Australian Grand Prix.
“We have made a solid start to the season. However, while our advantage in Melbourne was a healthy one, it was nevertheless close enough that those bad starts could easily have lost us the race.”
“Bahrain is a track that should suit Ferrari, so we expect even smaller gaps and a very close match this weekend.”
by Rachit Thukral