F1: Elimination-style qualifying system has been delayed

F1 cars seen heading out to the track during qualifying for the 2015 Malaysian GP at Sepang Circuit on March 28, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that the elimination qualifying system will not be introduced until at least the Spanish GP in May because of issues with readying the new timing software, which has to deal with the complex elimination process.

The timing system and associated TV graphics are the responsibility of FOM and not the FIA. Given that the new system had been discussed behind closed doors for some months the delay reflects a lack of joined-up thinking at the top of the sport, and the FIA is likely to be frustrated by the situation given that the change had already been announced, albeit with the proviso that it will “potentially” be introduced for 2016.

Last week that there were already concerns in the paddock about the software being readied in time.

“There’s a lot of work to do in the next few weeks,” said Pat Symonds of Williams. “Not just for us but for FOM to redo the software that handles the timing systems and things like that. It’s quite a tough call.”

Ecclestone has now confirmed that the work cannot be completed by the start of the season.

“The new qualifying won’t happen because we can’t get everything together in time,” he told The Independent. “It was going to come in at the start of this year but we are not going to be able to get all the software done in time. So the qualifying changes will probably be in Spain. In Australia it will be the old qualifying. All of the software has to be written so it’s not easy.

He added: “It’s not what I wanted in the end. All I’m trying to do is muddle up the grid so that the guy that is quickest in qualifying doesn’t sit on pole and disappear because why should he be slow in the race if he is quick in qualifying?”

Ecclestone also confirmed that he wanted “success penalties” added in order to mix up the grid, with the frontrunners pushed down the order.