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F1 considering introducing a Saturday race in 2017

Gasperotti/Sutton Images

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed a Saturday race is being considered to replace qualifying in 2017.

Ecclestone and the FIA had to bow to collective pressure from F1's teams to back the reinstatement of 2015's qualifying format, scrapping the unpopular live elimination system. Given the dominance of Mercedes since the introduction of V6 turbo engines in 2014 Ecclestone and the sport's governing body are keen to find a way of mixing up the grid and shuffling faster cars towards the back.

Thursday's announcement that F1 would revert back to 2015's qualifying format also came with the promise of a "global assessment" of F1's weekend format ahead of next season. Ecclestone has revealed one option on the table would be a race on Saturday to set the order of the grid for the grand prix on the following day, though he is cautious of pushing this too hard after the debacle around qualifying this year.

"We've been looking," he told Sky Sports F1. "Basically more the qualifying than anything. Maybe having a race on the Saturday which would count instead of qualifying, for example. We're looking at all these things, which would be for next year obviously. We've made a big enough muck up to do that for this year so must not do that again."

The idea of a Saturday race is likely to sit well with race promoters, who were a major reason for the switch to the live elimination format in the first place. Ecclestone has complained the current format does not provide value for money over the first two days of a race weekend.

The current format comprises two practice sessions on Friday, with another on Saturday before qualifying, followed by the grand prix on Sunday. Monaco is the only exception, with the opening practice sessions held on Thursday before a public holiday on the Friday.