A change to the qualifying format could be introduced as early as next season with F1’s Strategy Group toying with the idea of a Q4 session again.
The current qualifying format is split into three sessions – Q1, Q2 and Q3 – with five drivers being eliminated in the first two sessions respectively before a top-10 shoot-out commences in the final Q3 session.
But, based on a research process and further discussion in Bahrain, an agreement is close to being in place to introduce a fourth qualifying session for next season.
The new format would mean four cars are eliminated after Q1, Q2 and Q3, leaving eight cars to take part in the final Q4 session to help add some more drama and unpredictability to proceedings.
According to Autosport, discussions have now turned toward the issue of tyres with Pirelli not particularly keen on dishing out further sets to accommodate for an extra session.
Simulation runs have been carried out to also help determine what tyre the top eight drivers would be obliged to start the race on.
The switch to a Q4 system was initially welcomed last year by the late Charlie Whiting.
“It’s more something that’s come from F1,” Whiting said.
“They’ve been doing a lot of research among fans, and they feel this is one of the things that the fans would like.
“Slightly shorter [sessions], slightly shorter time between them, four go out in Q1, four, four, leaving eight.
“I personally think it’s quite a nice idea, but that’s not my decision.”