Why has F1 failed despite unanimous backing to change back from the knockout qualifying remained?
Qualifying shambles continue
There appears to be conflicting reports from the news agency Reuters and Motorsports.com about the future of the knock out qualifying format.
Reuters are saying the sport is to remain with the format for the Chinese Grand Prix after teams rejected a compromise backed by the governing FIA and called for a return to last year’s version. Meanwhile Motorsport.com say they understand the sport is set to revert to the 2015 qualifying format from the Chinese Grand Prix after the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone agreed to a request from teams.
Both say a vote will take place today with any decision needing to be put through the Strategy Group and the commission by next weekend. In a letter from all 11 teams to the FIA, Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt they made clear that they were only interested in reverting to the 2015 format. According to Motorsports.com.
But Reuters say the teams, the commission and the FIA are at a in pass over what to do. There has been a suggestion of an aggregated format where drivers would have their two fastest laps together.
Any decision will need to be passed through the Strategy Group, the commission and the World Motor Sport Council. This should be able to get completed before the Chinese GP.
F1 is no stranger to controversy and this year’s race in Azerbaijan is no different but what impact does the recent clashes with Armenia mean from the government’s view?
Clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh will not affect F1
The Azerbaijani government says recent fighting with Armenia in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region will not affect the Grand Prix in June. Sixteen Azerbaijani troops have been killed in the two days of clashes.
Each side blame each other for the fighting 155 miles away from the capital Baku where the race will be held. a spokesman for the sports and youth ministry, said Sunday that the fighting “has no effect on events being hosted in the country,” including F1.
“Azerbaijan always, to the highest standard, keeps athletes, tourists, fans and all participants safe at any events taking place in the country.” The region has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces and the Armenian military since a war ended in 1994 with no resolution of the area’s status.
The clashes between the two sides are regular.
The growing scandal engulfing politics, sports and the world’s wealthiest people has touched F1 for the first time. Nico Rosberg has been linked through the files but what do we know?
PANAMA PAPERS – Rosberg contract leaked
The German broadcaster ARD says that Nico Rosberg contract with Mercedes have been leaked as part of the papers from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.
The BBC / Guardian and The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists investigations have revealed details how the world’s wealthy including politicians and sports stars used its lawyers to set up offshore companies to avoid paying tax, launder money and dodge sanction.
The papers according to ARD say the German setup a company called “Ambitious Group Limited” based in the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. Ambitious group limed is has its headquartered in Jersey and administered by the law firm Mossack Fonseca.
It’s not clear if Rosberg was hired or any money passed through Mossack and there is no indications that there any wrong doing. He has been with Mercedes since 2010 and said through his lawyer that the case fell within his private affairs.
There are millions of documents which could name other drivers, teams and F1 officials could be named as the documents are reviled.
Tyre contract not signed
The contract with Pirelli to continue supply tyres from 2017 has not been signed off by the sports governing body the FIA. However the delay is not unusual according to the race director Charlie Whiting.
Whiting said “Pirelli wanted the targets that they were asked to achieve to be put into the contract. They want more specific items in the contract regarding testing. They really just want a guarantee of testing,” he said.
“If we are going to set them targets, they want the tools with which to achieve those targets. Those are really the only points. I think everything else is sorted but they just want this guarantee of tests.” Whiting added Pirelli would like the possibility of testing with their own car something he said thinks it’s all quite achievable in the short term.
Teams are currently restricted to strict limits on track testing before and during the season but the regulations now allow for 12 days of tire testing. These plans are all part of plans to make cars around five seconds quicker a lap, harder to drive and create more downforce.
Could F1 follow its feeder series GP2 by holding two races in a single weekend and how could it work?
Two Grand Prix a weekend
F1 boss Berine Ecclestone says the are considering replacing Qualifying with a race next season. The news comes after yesterday announcement that F1 would revert back to 2015’s qualifying format.
Yesterday also there was a promise of a “global assessment” of F1’s weekend format ahead of next season. The two race format would see the first race being made up by a qualifying session and the second race would see the race result revised to make up the grid.
The format is already used by the sports main feeder series GP2 and GP3. Berine Ecclestone put forward the idea saying “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.” Ecclestone has complained the current format does not provide value for money over the first two days of a race weekend.
The current format has two Friday and one Saturday practices which equals three hours, a one hour Saturday qualifying and the race on the Sunday.