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Serious tweet: Williams FW38 starts testing with old stubby nose. New cleaner Mercedes-style nose planned for Melbourne. https://twitter.com/tgruener Not so serious tweet: F1 launches so far: Las

Mercedes W07

Bernie Ecclestone declares F1's new qualifying format 'pretty crap'

Bernie Ecclestone has called the debut for Formula 1's new qualifying format "pretty crap" after watching it on television.

The F1 supremo is not in Australia for the opening grand prix of the season, but he spoke to Autosport shortly after the session finished, with Lewis Hamilton taking his 50th career pole position.

"I watched it, but I have to say I wasn't enthusiastic about it from day one," said Ecclestone.

"It was pretty crap. But this is what we've got, until we can change it.

"The only thing about this [format] is that the quick guys could have run off the road, or done anything a little bit silly, and then you would get a mixed-up grid, which is what we wanted.

"It just happens that Mercedes are still very, very good."

Ecclestone said he was "sure" the format could be revised in time for the second round of the season in Bahrain on the first weekend of April, but he warned against simply going back to the previous format.

"If we go back to the old system, I tell you what would happen: Mercedes would be first and second," he said. "Pretty simple.

"What I don't want to see is where you and I could predict how the grid is going to be for the start of a race, and how that race is going to finish.

"You and I could sell everything we've got and put our money on Hamilton winning. It's not what the public want.

"If you are a fan and you are on the way to a race we should be discussing whether or not Hamilton has to push, whether the Ferraris are quick, or maybe somebody else comes through, but they can't do that any more.

"That's what the problem is."

Ecclestone again outlined the idea he put forward to change qualifying for this year, with race winners picking up time penalties to be added to their best laps.

"My idea was a simple one - you leave qualifying alone," he said.

"It's been good for the last 60 years, and it's good for the guy that wants to have more poles than anybody else, and he should be allowed that.

"But I wanted to take the results of the last race, and the guy that won that race, would have so many seconds, or tenths of a second, added to his qualifying time.

"So that might put the guy on pole in sixth or seventh or wherever [on the grid], and then we would get a mixed-up grid and some good racing for at least half the race.

"Obviously the poleman would still have a good chance of winning."


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There are always dominant teams. What needs fixing are the aero regs so cars can follow and pass easier. Why punish the team and driver doing the best job with this stupid system or, worse, Bernie's preference of reversing the top 10?

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Formula 1 bosses agree to abandon new qualifying format

Formula 1 bosses have agreed to ditch the controversial new elimination qualifying system for the next race.

The previous system will be re-introduced for the Bahrain Grand Prix on 1-3 April after criticism of the new knock-out format at the season's first race in Australia on Saturday.

The teams made a unanimous decision at a meeting in Melbourne on Sunday.

"We wanted to improve the show and we went in the wrong direction," Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said.

"It shows there is common sense in F1."




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  • 2 weeks later...
McLaren's Fernando Alonso misses Bahrain GP due to injury

Fernando Alonso has been declared unfit to drive at the Bahrain GP by doctors following his crash at the season-opening Australian GP.

The Spaniard had a huge accident in Melbourne where his car barrel rolled through the Turn Three gravel trap after colliding with the Haas of Esteban Gutierrez. The sensors on-board the McLaren are reported to have recorded a peak force of 47G.

Alonso was seen limping as he visited the Bahrain International Circuit's medical centre on Thursday morning where his condition was assessed ahead of the weekend's running.

The two-time world champion's place will likely be taken by reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne who is the reigning GP2 champion.


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Alonso reveals injuries, admits he could miss China McLaren’s Fernando Alonso has revealed he suffered fractured ribs and a collapsed lung in his frightening crash in Melbourne 10 days ago, and admits he cannot guarantee he will be cleared to race in China in two weeks' time.

Alonso says he was determined to compete this weekend in Bahrain, but with his ribs not fully healed doctors deemed it too risky for him to take part. And while the Spaniard insists such risks are 'very small', he concedes he cannot say decisively when he will be eligible to return.

"To summarise a little, last week [in Australia] I was okay Sunday - some knee pain but not big things. I had the green light to leave the track and everything was okay," Alonso explained in Thursday’s official FIA press conference in Bahrain.

"On Monday I had a bit of overall pain, nothing too serious. Then I flew back, arrived in Spain and the pain was a little more, so we did a proper check and I had a small pneumothorax [collapse] on the lung.

"We took advice from the doctors to relax at home and repeat the scan last Monday - the pneumothorax is gone more or less but I had some rib fractures. And because F1 is a very unique position in the car, and with the g-forces, there was a risk the fractures could move into the lung.

"It’s not like broken leg or arm where you can deal with the pain; it’s the chest where there are organs, so we cannot do much more."

Asked whether he was confident of racing in China, Alonso added: "It is not 100 percent - it will be another test I need to do in the next eight or 10 days and after that the FIA will evaluate again, as they did today.

"I will recover. I am already recovered from the pneumothorax, it’s just the ribs are not ‘glued’ let’s say, so it could be a problem. It is a very, very small risk, but I understand we all want zero risk. So it is just a matter of time. In the next 10 days it should be fine but we cannot guarantee - maybe five days, maybe 10, maybe 12."

Alonso said he made the personal choice to stay in Bahrain in order to aid his replacement Stoffel Vandoorne, and also to assist McLaren as a thanks for the team's work in preparing his car - which suffered extensive damage in the crash - in time for the weekend.

"The team did a fantastic job preparing the car so I wanted to try [to race] until the last moment," Alonso said. "Now I stay here all weekend to help Stoffel because it is a good opportunity for him, and to help the team because I love what I do, I love F1 and racing.

"I want to learn from the outside how the team prepare, the actions around qualifying, the strategy, the pit stops - I want to get involved in everything on the outside because it could help me on the inside next time."


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F1 teams force Ecclestone to revert to old qualifying system

Formula One’s teams have forced Bernie Ecclestone to ditch the reviled knockout qualifying system after a united show of power.

All 11 teams wrote to F1’s chief executive and Jean Todt, president of the FIA governing body, to demand that the elimination format of the past two races be discarded and the sport return to the successful qualifying system used last season.

The old qualifying system will return in time for the next grand prix, in China over the weekend of April 15-16.


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Andrew Benson @andrewbensonf1

BBC Sport - Chinese Grand Prix: Fernando Alonso 'provisionally fit' to race

Fernando Alonso has been declared "provisionally fit" to take part in this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver, who broke a rib in a crash in last month's Australian Grand Prix, faces further tests before being given the full go-ahead.

The Spanish two-time champion, 34, will be given a second check-up after taking part in first practice on Friday.

Governing body the FIA took six hours to make this decision after testing Alonso on Thursday.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Rosberg being gifted this 2016 championship at the moment. Other cars too slow and Hamtilon keeps having terrible luck.

Another engine failure in quali for Lewis today. Merc need to get their act together on that side of the garage. shake.gifshake.gif

If Nico gets away well tomorrow will be a non-event at the front.

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Max Verstappen replaces Daniil Kvyat in Red Bull F1 line-up

Max Verstappen will replace Danill Kvyat at Red Bull from the Spanish Grand Prix with the Russian taking the Dutchman's seat at Toro Rosso.

Kvyat collided with Sebastian Vettel twice at the start of the Russian GP last weekend, with the second contact resulting in the Ferrari ending up in the wall.

After the race, Red Bull boss Horner said Kvyat "accepts he made a mistake" and apologised to the team.

But following talks, Red Bull has taken the decision to drop Kvyat in favour of Verstappen from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards.

"Max has proven to be an outstanding young talent," said Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

"His performance at Toro Rosso has been impressive so far and we are pleased to give him the opportunity to drive for Red Bull Racing.

"We are in the unique position to have all four drivers across Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso under long term contracts with Red Bull, so we have the flexibility to move them between the two teams.

"Dany will be able to continue his development at Toro Rosso, in a team that he is familiar with, giving him the chance to regain his form and show his potential."

Verstappen is believed to have a three-year contract with the Red Bull family, which runs until the end of 2017.

It is understood this move is seen as an opportunity to evaluate him sooner with a view to sign him longer term if he delivers.


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