Qualifying will revert to the 2015 system as soon as the Chinese Grand Prix, pending confirmation from the World Motorsport Council and F1 Commission.
The new elimination format for 2016 has received a lot of criticism after the first two races of the season and it looks like a way forward has finally been agreed between the FIA, FOM and the teams.
Team bosses had previously met on Sunday at the Bahrain Grand Prix but no solution was decided. Talks of an aggregate time system had been proposed but in the end teams united to request a return to the 2015 format.
The new system was rushed through with no proper testing and met mixed reviews at the season opener in Australia. Many felt that Q1 and Q2 worked but the pole position shoot out was heavily criticised. In Melbourne Sebastian Vettel – who qualified third – had time to change into his jeans before the end of the final session as pole was decided with four minutes to go. Much of the sessions were spent clock watching with many drivers opting to stay in the garage instead of getting out on track. One major flaw in the elimination format was the fact that drivers on a flying lap were not able to complete it if their time ran out while on track.
A joint statement from the FIA and FOM today said:
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.
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.
Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone welcomed the idea put forward by the teams to have a global assessment of the format of the weekend for 2017.