Bernie Ecclestone backs revised elimination qualifying system

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Bernie Ecclestone wants the derided elimination qualifying format to continue in a revised form despite its farcical debut at the Australian Grand Prix.

Ecclestone himself admitted the new format was "pretty crap" after its first run in Melbourne, which prompted team bosses to agree to drop the system in time for Bahrain. Reports on Wednesday suggested F1 chiefs are edging towards agreeing on a tweaked elimination concept for the desert race rather than a return to the popular old qualifying system.

It has been suggested Q1 and Q2 could remain under the elimination format, with Q3 run under the old rules. F1 boss Ecclestone thinks the criticisms of the new format can be rectified with time.

"I was confused as it was the first run and all the variables couldn't have been predicted, like how it was decided in Q3. We can improve it," Ecclestone told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "If I were to give an opinion, I would say we will continue with the format from Australia.

"I am a prudent man, and new things must be tested. The new qualifying caused a bit of shock, but maybe we can salvage the good of the format.

"I want to ensure the final result isn't taken for granted. I am an entrepreneur and I must sell F1 to the race organisers. If fans no longer watch then I have less money to give the teams. That is why I have to find the best solution and why having drivers eliminated every 90 seconds could be exciting."

Force India is believed to be one of the teams opposed to immediately scrapping the new format, thinking it would be a knee-jerk reaction to do so from one bad showing in Melbourne.

Deputy team principal Bob Fernley told Motorsport.com: "We would never stand up as a lone voice if it was detrimental for Formula One. When it comes to what is good for fans and good for F1, that we will never get in the way of.

"But we were all working under a pressure cooker [in qualifying]. So it seems a shame to me to throw it all away when you have never evaluated it properly."