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Sports

Formula One to return to old qualifying format

Formula One has announced it intends to scrap its new qualifying format after it was heavily criticized in the first two races of the season. The sport will revert to the old format starting with the Chinese Grand Prix.

A statement issued by Formula One's governing body, the Federation International de l'Automobile (FIA), on Thursday said that the decision to revert to the old qualifying format had been taken at the behest of the circuit's 11 teams.

"At the unanimous request of the teams in a letter received today, Jean Todt, president of the FIA, and Bernie Ecclestone, commercial rights holder representative, accepted, in the interests of the Championship, to submit a proposal to the F1 Commission and World Motor Sport Council to revert to the qualifying format in force in 2015," the statement said.

"This proposal, if approved by the F1 governing bodies, will take effect as from the Chinese Grand Prix and will apply for the rest of the season," it added. The approval of the change is widely regarded as a mere formality.

The format the FIA hastily approved prior to the start of the season was intended to make qualifying more interesting, with drivers being steadily eliminated one by one, culminating in a shoot-out between the two fastest drivers.

However, as the

Grand Prix races at Melbourne

and

Sakhir

demonstrated, instead of making qualifying more exciting, it did the opposite. Drivers accepted their elimination and stayed in their garages during the final stage, rather than risking wearing down their tires in a bid to better their times.

pfd/ (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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