Bernie expects F1 will continue with new qualy

Date published: March 24 2016

Bernie Ecclestone believes Formula 1 will retain the new qualifying format when it races in Bahrain next weekend.

The season-opening Australian Grand Prix saw a new format debuted to wide-spread criticism.

While Q1 was action-packed, but at times a bit confusing, Q3 was panned as the majority of the eight drivers did not even defend their positions, opting instead to remain in the pits as they were counted out.

Pole position was decided with four minutes still on the clock.

Asked for his thoughts on the new system, Ecclestone told Gazzetta dello Sport: "I was also confused as it was the first run and all the variables couldn't have been predicted, like how everything was decided in Q3. We can improve."

The F1 supremo, though, reckons it will remain in play when F1 heads to Bahrain despite reports on Sunday morning in Melbourne claiming team bosses had decided to revert to the 2015 system.

He explained: "The teams are discussing that and they want to go back. If I were to give an opinion, I would say we will continue with the format from Australia."

Pressed as to whether sticking with the Melbourne format would turn fans away, Ecclestone replied: "I am a prudent man, and new things must be tested. The new qualifying caused a bit of shock, but maybe we can salvage the good of the format."

He added: "I want to ensure the final result isn’t taken for granted. I am an entrepreneur and I must sell F1 to the race organisers. If fans no longer watch than I have less money to give the teams.

"That is why I have to find the best solution and why having riders eliminated every 90 seconds could be exciting."

Aside from the qualifying fiasco, Ecclestone reckons the Australian Grand Prix was a great start to the Formula 1 season.

"It was a good show, right?" he said. "Mercedes won, but Ferrari showed they are better than last season. What a start from [Sebastian] Vettel! The progress that has been made is evident, even Mercedes know that. It will be a great season."