Formula 1 Flip Flops Again on Qualifying Format for Bahrain

By Steve Aibel, Senior F1 Writer

In another flip flop decision, Formula 1 qualifying will NOT revert back to the old style format when the second round of the season happens in Bahrain. This decision stands in contrast to the recommendation of the team principals who voted to eliminate the new knock out style qualifying format after the qualifying disaster in Australia.

It’s another instance of inconsistent messaging for the sport!

The decision was made by the Formula 1 Strategy Group in a meeting Thursday morning and will need to be confirmed by the F1 Commission which should be a foregone conclusion.

The Strategy group considered multiple option such as moving forward in the new knockout format, reverting back to the old format, or combining the two formats. In the end, it was decided to give the new format a second chance in Bahrain since the teams did not fully understand the new format.

After the event in Bahrain, qualifying will be reevaluated.

The knee jerk reaction to changing qualifying to a new format, and then changing it back without reevaluation, is a symptom of a deeper problem within F1 management and its inability to deliver consistent messaging and communication.

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Growing up in a racing family, Steve Aibel was surrounded by Allards, Crosleys and Corvettes! A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Steve was drawn to the automobile magazines strewn throughout the house and Formula 1 in particular. With go karts, motorcycles and vintage race cars in the garage, it was inevitable that the torch would be carried by Steve. Lime Rock Park was his own personal playground while still keeping an eye on the pinnacle of motorsports overseas called Formula 1. Now, in the shadows of Circuit of the Americas, Steve is able to not only follow F1, he makes it the object of this racing stories. This passion for Formula 1 is shared weekly writing original articles for both Tribute Racing and Drafting the Circuits. He also participates in two weekly radio shows. Drafting The Circuits, (, which airs Tuesday evening at 7 pm CST and Formula 1 Racing Plus (, which broadcasts throughout the week on Performance Motorsports Network. Steve's motorsports photography can be found at