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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 March 2006, 16:10 GMT
New format wins seal of approval
Bernie Ecclestone
Ecclestone proposed the new qualifying system
Leading figures declared Formula One's new qualifying system a success after a dramatic debut in Bahrain.

The new knock-out format eliminates six drivers after each of the two 15-minute sessions before a final bid for places.

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen spun out in the first session, and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said: "Good guys getting knocked out makes it more exciting."

Honda driver Jenson Button added: "I'm sure it's going to make for some upsets this season and very different grids."

Ecclestone, who came up with the new format, added: "It's precisely what I wanted to happen. It looks good and has worked well. I'm very, very happy with this format."

It looks like after so many changes we have achieved something that is more exciting and everybody likes it
Michael Schumacher

Button, who qualified in third, said: "It's always go and you are always doing something. For me it was very exciting. I'm sure it's the same for all the fans out there."

Schumacher, who has criticised the sport's rule-makers for tinkering with qualifying in the past, also gave his seal of approval.

"It looks like after so many changes we have achieved something that is more exciting and everybody likes it," he said.

"There are more opportunities and it is fairer if there are changing weather conditions and so on."

BMW Sauber team principal Mario Theissen said: "This is the best qualifying system that we have ever had.

"First two knock-out rounds and then a final session in which everything is at stake all over again. That was really great, an hour of intense action.

"This is exactly what was missing in recent years."

Bahrain GP qualifying as it happened
11 Mar 06 |  Formula One
Raikkonen suffers practice misery
10 Mar 06 |  Formula One
Coulthard admits Red Bull worries
10 Mar 06 |  Formula One


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