Ecclestone and Todt to attend second F1 qualifying summit on Sunday

(From left) F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone speaks with FIA President Jean Todt on the grid before the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 5, 2015 in Northampton, England.

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The F1 teams are set to meet with Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt on Sunday in Bahrain for further discussions about the qualifying controversy.

Neither Ecclestone nor Todt were present in the meeting held on Sunday in Melbourne, and teams are hoping that their presence in the same room will allow progress to be made after everyone has had a chance to see the elimination system in action for a second time.

“I think Saturday is going to be about the same as we had in Melbourne,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. “And then we’ll see what the consequences are going to be, and whether the FIA then decides to change the rules. There will be another meeting on Sunday once they are all here.”

After the teams had all agreed on Sunday in Melbourne to dump elimination qualifying – in a meeting chaired by the FIA’s Charlie Whiting – they were surprised when the FIA subsequently offered them the opportunity to vote only on a compromise system, with elimination in Q1 and Q2, and a “normal” Q3.

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Since they failed to come to unanimous agreement, with Red Bull, McLaren and Williams voting against, the FIA then automatically defaulted to the previously approved full elimination system for Bahrain. A return to 2015-style qualifying was never on the table.

“I think we had a situation where funnily enough all teams had the same views on Sunday in Melbourne,” said Wolff. “We realized that Saturday was not right, and we tried to come up with an opinion. But it’s not us that makes the rules.”

The Mercedes boss said the teams hadn’t expected to be voting only for the compromise system, especially as the idea had been mooted before Australia, but blocked by Todt.

“It’s a bit confusing, but in the end you have to accept it. I think the reasoning they had was before we dump it overall maybe a compromise setup is still a feasible situation. It wasn’t as radical opinion as the teams had.

“We supported that compromise, because we thought it was less harmful than staying with the Melbourne format. But equally I understand the teams that voted against it, because they wanted to make a point in saying none of the solutions are really acceptable. Whatever the vote was, it was different to what we discussed on the Sunday. But again, it’s not us making the rules.”

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