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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 May, 2004, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
F1 eyes qualifying change
By Andrew Benson
Motorsport editor at the Spanish GP

Michael Schumacher
Ferrari's Schumacher has dominated qualifying this year
Formula One could return to multi-lap qualifying by the mid-season this year.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone wants to dump the much-criticised new system for a variation on the one used before 2003.

He is proposing a switch to two half-hour sessions with drivers doing six laps in each and grid positions decided by aggregating their best times.

The current set order one-lap runs have proved unpopular, and Ecclestone said: "We're going to try and get (the changes) through mid-season if we can."

Speaking at the Spanish GP, he said he would prefer to do away with the concept of being unable to refuel between qualifying and the start of the race.

That was introduced in 2003 to try to provide variety to the grids and spice up the racing by giving less successful teams the chance to qualify higher up by running lower fuel loads.

Traditional form

It was successful for a time but grids have become predictable again as teams have worked out the best way to use the rules to their advantage.

He said his idea was to "do what you like over six laps, go as fast as you can and if you don't do those six laps you take the slowest time from the next session.

"And if you don't do [six laps] in both sessions you start from the back of the grid."

His proposal means that qualifying would effectively revert to a more traditional form, in which drivers have a certain time frame and can choose when to go out within it.

That was changed for 2003 with the introduction of a set order for one-lap runs.

Ecclestone said: "We stopped it because nobody ran for the first half hour or so [of a one-hour session] people were sitting in the grandstand seeing nothing except the Minardi going round, and the same for TV, which is disgraceful."

That problem was created because the top teams did not want to go out early in the session when the track was dirtier and therefore slower.

The new proposal would remove that problem by forcing drivers to go out in both halves of the hour-long session.

F1 teams back revolution
04 May 04  |  Formula One
Ecclestone still unhappy
01 Apr 04  |  Formula One
F1 qualifying changed again
24 Mar 04  |  Formula One

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