Formula One's governing body Federation International de l'Automobile (FIA) has decided to continue with the qualifying format that was being followed in 2015 in all the races in the current season starting from Chinese Grand Prix. The new format was followed in the first two races of the 2016 season — in Australia and Bahrain. And it turned out to be widely unpopular.
The new rolling elimination format had one driver getting eliminated every 90 seconds. This did not make the drivers of all the teams happy. Thus, FIA has decided to return to the three-round qualifying format that was followed last season.
The qualifying was divided into three phases — the first would last for 16 minutes, followed by the second, which was for 15 minutes, and finally the last phase be for 14 minutes.
Seven drivers used to get eliminated in the first two phases. The remaining eight drivers would bout in the third phase in which six more drivers would be eliminated, leaving two drivers to vie for the pole position for the race in one and a half minutes.
The new rolling format was heavily criticised by Formula 1 teams. This format was approved by the F1 Commission, the FIA World Council, sponsors, circuits and the tyre supplier Pirelli.
But as the teams have expressed their concerns over the format, the remaining races of the F1 2016 season will follow the three-round qualifying format, in which the drivers will be eliminated at the cuts coming at the end of the session.
The old format will be implemented again starting from the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, which is supposed to be held in the coming weekend. The practice session will be held on Friday, followed by the qualifiers on Saturday, and finally the race will be held on Sunday.