Motorsport: New qualifying format touted for Melbourne

Williams Martini Racing's driver Valtteri Bottas at the Circuit de Catalunya. Photo / Getty Images
Williams Martini Racing's driver Valtteri Bottas at the Circuit de Catalunya. Photo / Getty Images

Melbourne could be the first to showcase a radical new Formula One qualifying format at next month's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Team bosses and F1 chiefs have reportedly agreed to introduce an elimination-style system at a meeting in Geneva overnight.

Details of the proposed format have not been finalised and would still need approval by the FIA's World Motor Sport Council, which meets on March 4.

But according to Autosport.com and Motorsport.com, officials are keen to start it as early as this year.

The reports say qualifying will remain a one-hour session split into three segments.

But under the suggested plan, drivers will have to be out on track for the duration of each part until they get knocked out.

It's believed Q1 would last 16 minutes, with the slowest driver eliminated after seven minutes.

The slowest driver at every 90-second interval after that will be knocked out until just 15 drivers remain.

Q2 will be 15 minutes long, with the slowest driver eliminated after six minutes.

Like in Q1, the slowest driver will be knocked out at 90-second intervals until eight are left.

The final session will last 14 minutes, with the slowest at the five-minute mark forced out.

The next five drivers will drop out every 90 seconds after that, leaving the final two drivers to fight it out for pole position.

The Australian Grand Prix runs from March 18-20.

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