Formula One officials have ditched a new qualifying format after a farcical introduction at the Australian Grand Prix.
The sport will revert to the 2015 qualifying system, scrapping new rules enforced at Melbourne’s Albert Park on Saturday when drivers were subjected to rolling eliminations throughout qualifying.
Team officials met with FIA race director Charlie Whiting on Sunday at Albert Park ahead of Sunday’s season-opening grand prix and unanimously resolved to immediately drop the new system.
“We made a mistake and will go back (to the old system) for the next race,” Red Bull Racing principal Christian Horner told Sky Sports.
The reversal is expected to be ratified by the F1 Commission and World Motor Sport Council ahead of the next grand prix in Bahrain from April 4.
The new qualifying rules were roundly criticised by drivers and teams after spectacularly backfiring on Saturday.
There were no cars on the track for the final three minutes of qualifying after Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton locked up pole position.
Under the new system, the slowest drivers were knocked out of qualifying in rolling eliminations every 90 seconds in the three stages of the session.
The move was introduced to ultimately leave two cars battling for pole in the final minutes but teams instead opted to save tyres and energy for Sunday’s race.
Horner on Saturday said F1 organisers should apologise for short-changing fans, Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff described the new rules as “rubbish” and drivers blasted the changes as bad for the sport and spectators.
From the Bahrain GP, the qualifying system will revert to the standard three-part knockout format used between 2006 and 2015, where slower drivers are eliminated after each portion of the one-hour session instead of at rolling intervals.