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F1 drivers 'not very happy' with qualifying changes

Gasperotti/Sutton Images

F1 drivers are "not very happy" with recent changes to qualifying and voiced their opposition in a meeting with the FIA on Wednesday.

Last week it was confirmed F1 would adopt a live-elimination format format for the coming season, which would exist within the current Q1-Q2-Q3 setting. After initially being pushed back to the fifth race of the season due to the relevant software not existing, the matter became more complicated on Wednesday when a compromised solution was suggested for the Australian Grand Prix.

The compromise would see qualifying in Melbourne tweaked to have Q1 and Q2 exist under the live elimination system and Q3 operate as normal, albeit with eight drivers instead of 10. On Wednesday the FIA confirmed that proposal was on the table pending approval from the World Motor Sport Council later this week.

After the sixth day of testing in Barcelona the FIA met with a number of drivers -- including Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen -- to discuss a number of issues, including qualifying.

Speaking to Sky Sports News after the meeting, Force India's Sergio Perez, who was present, said: "We are obviously not very happy with the new plans they want to implement. Let's see if they can change it. We felt that it could be very complicated for the fans to understand -- it's complicated for us already. We also felt that qualifying is really good at the moment and there is no reason to change that."

It comes after Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne voiced his apprehension at the proposed changes and suggested the team was not sure it could support its implementation. Though he did not say he was against the change, McLaren's Jenson Button spoke out against Formula One making changes that had not been needed.

"I like new regulations, I think it's fun to learn new regulations," he said. "People will make mistakes which will help us because we're not the most competitive car. But I think there are more important things and other areas of Formula One that need to be looked at before we start messing with qualifying which I think has been pretty good. Lately I think Saturdays have been a real standout I feel for the sport over the last few years."

Renault's Kevin Magnussen said the meeting was the FIA gauging driver opinion on a number of topics rather than to decide a change.

""It was just Charlie getting the driver's opinions on a number of things ... Obviously it would be nice to know [the qualifying format], it would make it easier to prepare, we will just see what happens. We give our opinion, but it is not up to us to decide."