Formula One's governing body will meet after the Bahrain Grand Prix hoping for a unanimous decision to change the recently implemented qualifying format. The much-criticised new qualifying procedure produced a dull end of qualifying in the last leg of the F1 tour in Melbourne.
The latest rules, brought in at the start of the season, see the slowest driver eliminated on a rolling basis. It was used again at the Bahrain Grand Prix on 2 April, where Lewis Hamilton won pole position. Under the old system drivers would race against the clock, with the fastest racer going first.
The FIA failed in a bid to change the rules before the Bahrain Grand Prix as no unanimous agreement could be made on how to change the legislature. Now the FIA, and Jean Todt, chief of the sport's governing body, has called a meeting to take place on 3 April that they hope will change qualifying again.
Hamilton left it late during qualifying but stormed to pole position ahead of Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg – who won last time out. Sebastian Vettel will start in third position ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen, and again the format will be questioned after hardly any track action towards the end of each session.
"I am optimistic we will get unanimous support tomorrow," FIA president Todt said, according to the Daily Mail. "We will have learned more from qualifying [in Bahrain]. I felt it was necessary to give one more chance to this form of qualifying before reverting back to 2015."
In Melbourne there were no cars on track for the final three minutes of the qualifying session and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel said in response to the changes: "It's something that we can't be proud of.
"Put it this way – if you sell vanilla ice cream, but everybody who comes to your shop is asking for chocolate ice cream and the next day you open – you expect to sell chocolate ice cream but instead you just sell vanilla ice cream again."
Todt is said to prefer a rolling elimination format for the first two stages of qualification (the Q1 and Q2 segments), with an increase in the amount of track time before the eliminations kick in. This would then a reversion to the old qualifying system for Q3 where the top spots are decided.
After the Australian Grand Prix the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA), which represents the current field of F1 racers, released a statement slamming the sport's governing body. The statement was signed by former world champions Jenson Button and Vettel, as well as the GPDA's chairman.
It read: "We feel that some recent rule changes – on both the sporting and technical side – are disruptive, do not address the bigger issues our sport is facing and, in some cases, could jeopardise its future success,.
"We would like to request and urge the owners and all stakeholders of Formula 1 to consider restructuring its own governance. We need to ensure that F1 remains a sport, a closely fought competition between the best drivers in extraordinary machines on the coolest race tracks."