Qualifying revamp: F1's Miss Atomic Bomb

Catherine Tate is due to star in a new musical 'Miss Atomic Bomb'. The British comedian's sharp sense of humour is well-suited to this grimly true story of how the Americans made light of above-ground nuclear tests in Nevada by turning such a nasty business into a tourist attraction in and around Las Vegas.

By running Miss Atomic Bomb contests and encouraging frivolity such as mushroom cloud hairdos, whoever dreamed this up was providing a handy diversion from the potentially devastating consequences of the lethal work being carried out in the nearby desert. It's almost as if Formula One is attempting to cover up its more serious and pressing problems elsewhere by setting social media alight with comments about the latest idea for qualifying.

Before we even begin to predict what might or might not happen on a Saturday afternoon, you have to ask why has this been inflicted upon a baffled audience, not to mention the hapless participants? There is a lot wrong with F1 but -- and I don't think I'm alone in this -- qualifying has been one of the things that worked really well in recent years. And, more important, it was easily understood: not always a given in this sport, as a previous column about the mysteries of tyre choice will attest.

It has been suggested that the new format will have every car running throughout. That won't happen in Q1. The quick guys will bang in their times at the beginning instead of at the end, and then sit back and wait for Q2. Okay, there may be more running in Q2 to avoid slipping into the drop zone -- but not that much. As for Q3, the final eight will have to go for it but to suggest this wasn't happening during the two runs in previous format is a bit of an insult to drivers who were on the ragged edge for as long as the tyres would allow.

Personally, I will miss the drama of the final minute. Having two cars going at it instead of six or seven will not be the same. And I really don't understand why the cut off points should be at 90-second intervals. How on earth is the fan in the grandstand going to follow that? True, a benefit of the latest power units is audible public address systems but, if you aren't paying attention, the whole thing will become as mystifying as Eddie Jordan trying to explain it in 10 seconds. Or an hour, more like.

But none of that matters apparently because the aim is to generate problems for the drivers and mix the grid. Fine; familiar names in unfamiliar places does make for interesting racing. But it's also a tacit admission that the racing is boring.

I have to agree that we have had an increasing number of processional races. Why? Because the bloody cars can't overtake! How many times do we have to say this? Tinkering with qualifying is arranging deckchairs on the Titanic. Our equivalent scraped against an iceberg years ago when nose wings were allowed to grow to the truly ridiculous pieces of aerodynamic art you see today. And now they want to make them wider still in 2017. It beggars belief.

Bigger and more brutal cars, by all means. But make the front wings smaller and less likely to be either knocked about or cause punctures on the rare occasions when the cars do get to run wheel-to-wheel. More important, the effect of dirty air from the car in front will be less pronounced. As for wanting more downforce! Words fail me.

I mean, it's not rocket science. But then I suppose that's exactly what they said in Las Vegas when a concerned punter dared to question the true effect of the big bang out in the desert.