Despite calls to change the newly initiated format of Formula One qualifying after severe criticism at the season opening Australian Grand Prix, the FIA have announced that Saturday’s format will be exactly the same as it was at Albert Park, however in order to facilitate television scheduling, the Commercial Rights Holder has requested that…
(i) the qualifying procedure should begin at 13.00 local time instead of 14.00; and
(ii) qualifying proper (ie for the grid) should begin at 14.00 local time rather than immediately after the end of the timed laps which determine the order in which cars qualify for the grid.
The schedule would then be:
Qualifying procedure begins 13.00
Qualifying for the grid 14.00
If the competing teams agree unanimously to this revised schedule, it will be put to the Formula One Commission by a fax vote. If the Commission is in favour and the World Motor Sport Council confirms the decision at its meeting on 24 March, the new schedule could be introduced from the Bahrain Grand Prix. In all other respects, the qualifying procedures would remain as published.