A meeting to analyse the future of F1’s qualifying format has already been scheduled for Bahrain.
In the paddock on Thursday, the widespread feeling was that the sport was “crazy” to have not scrapped the new ‘musical chairs’ system after Australia.
“It’s crazy,” said F1 legend Niki Lauda, “because we saw in Australia what happened. The teams and drivers were all in agreement.
“Nevertheless, Jean Todt wants to try again. And (Bernie) Ecclestone. Because they feel that their toes have been stepped on,” the Mercedes team chairman told Osterreich newspaper.
“They say ‘We make the rules!’ So now we still have this stupid qualifying,” added Lauda.
Also exasperated at the situation on Thursday was quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel, who likened it to F1 forcing fans to eat vanilla ice-cream when all they want is chocolate.
“Usually you do what your clients want you to do, so you’re not really doing your job if you do the exact opposite,” the German said angrily.
“This is something they can’t be proud of.”
But, for now at least, ‘musical chairs’ is still in place.
“I’m curious to see how the audience responds,” said Lauda.
However, it emerges that the low-profile FIA president Todt, as well as Ecclestone, have travelled to Bahrain where a new meeting about qualifying will take place.
“I hope it is better here,” said Haas’ Gunther Steiner, “but after qualifying we will hold a meeting to figure out how to move on.”
Paddock confidence, however, is not high. “My engineers say it’s going to be exactly the same this weekend (as in Australia). So the fans are going to be unhappy again,” said reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton.
“I just hope they do something afterwards.”
According to one rumour, the F1 drivers are so collectively angry about the sport’s decision-making process that they are asking for a seat at the F1 Commission.
“We’ve got different ideas,” said championship leader Nico Rosberg when asked about the rumour, “but I don’t want to go into detail at the moment.
“But qualifying is the perfect example — it cannot be that everyone is against this new qualifying, everyone wants the old one back, but we are here and it’s like this because of a couple of people.
“As drivers we do want to contribute more to making the right decisions for the sport,” the German added.
© RIF | GMM