Formula 1 qualifying reverts to 2015 format before Chinese GP

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Lewis Hamilton has spoken out against the current format
Lewis Hamilton has spoken out against the current format

Formula 1's governing body the FIA has formally approved the return to the 2015 qualifying format in time for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.

Teams last week forced a U-turn from F1 bosses Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone, who had previously refused to back a return to the knock-out format.

This came after a new system proved a failure at the opening two races.

The FIA said on Monday the decision to revert to the old format had passed the phases of the legislative process.

That means it has now been approved unanimously by both the F1 Commission, on which there are representatives of all the teams, as well as sponsors, circuits and tyre supplier, and the FIA World Council.

On Thursday, Todt - the FIA president - and Ecclestone - the sport's commercial rights holder - backed down in the face of teams' opposition and agreed to revert to last season's format "in the interests of the championship".

They had previously insisted at a meeting on the morning of the last race in Bahrain on trying out another new system, which would have involved aggregating each driver's two fastest laps to count for their grid position rather than one.

That was despite the teams at the time unanimously backing a return to the 2015 format.

This involves two knock-out sessions, at the end of which the slowest six cars are eliminated, before a shoot-out between the 10 remaining cars for the highest positions on the grid.

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