New Knockout Qualifying System Gets Green Light

Formula One bosses approved on Friday a new format to qualifying for this year’s world championship, despite some driver reservations.

The new format will see drivers eliminated one by one in a type of knockout format that will see its debut at the opening race of the season in Melbourne on March 20.

Qualifying will remain split into three segments as before but rather than a block of drivers being eliminated at the end of each session, they will go one by one.

The first segment will last 16 minutes and after seven minutes the slowest driver will take no further part in the session. Every 90 seconds thereafter, the slowest driver will be knocked out until there are only 15 remaining.

A 15-minute second segment follows a similar pattern with the slowest driver eliminated after six minutes and then a further driver knocked out at 90-second intervals.

The final block will last 14 minutes with knockouts beginning after five minutes until the two final drivers are left to fight it out for pole position.

The format was approved by the World Motor Sport Council having previously been unanimously accepted by the F1 Commission.

The aim of the changes is to improve the spectacle of qualifying for the fans but not all drivers have been seduced.

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