The whisper in F1 circles is that the FIA and FOM have taken notice of the criticism of the qualifying system used in Australia and Bahrain and that they have agreed that it is not a good idea to go on insisting on it, and have agreed to go back to the qualifying system used in 2015.
It is yet to be confirmed but this is very good news for the sport and one must give the two parties credit for realising that it was not the right time to go on pushing for what they wanted – and the sense to back down, rather than trying to fight a battle that they couldn’t really win. Further insistence on the qualifying system would have led to further criticism and ultimately to an erosion of confidence and credibility in the two organisations, with the teams being put into the spotlight as the good guys. As I understand it, Jean Todt convinced Bernie Ecclestone that it made no sense to go on fighting, if only because the whole purpose of the qualifying was to try to disrupt the starting grids to create better racing.
In fact the racing thus far this year has been extremely good, probably thanks to the decision to allow the teams to use three compounds rather than the previous two. It is still all rather complicated to explain to the fans, but at least the daft qualifying system will not be seen again in China, which will give the sport the opportunity to stop all the negative talk surrounding the sport and concentrate on showing the world that F1 is still a great show, and has important and useful technology for the world at large.
Let us hope that this leads to an upswing in F1’s fortunes.