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So what happens if there are no finishers in Sunday's Australian GP?

"Doomsday scenario" is "quite unlikely" reckons the FIA's Whiting

Charlie Whiting FIA
Image: Charlie Whiting: "Quite unlikely" there'll be no finishers in Melbourne

The likelihood of Safety Car appearances; the potential for aborted starts and the possibility that teams might skip practice sessions: all scenarios for the Australian GP discussed by Charlie Whiting on Thursday.

Apparent during pre-season testing were the protracted times teams were taking to change the new power units and drive trains introduced this season. A particular concern is the two-hour gap that separates P3 from qualifying, with Whiting speculating that teams might opt to skip the former in order to make the latter. "Teams are worried that it's going to be more common and I've heard even teams say that they'd skip P3 to make sure they have a car for qualifying," he said. "Everyone's got their own way of going about things. Some teams tell me it'll take them seven hours to change an engine, some say it'll take three, some an hour and a half." Renault might currently lag behind Ferrari and particularly Mercedes in the reliability stakes but Whiting confirmed that all three engine manufacturers have already requested changes. Although performance has been frozen since the February 28 homologation deadline, changes can be made to power units for reliability, safety or cost reasons. "They've all done already. We've had requests from everybody to change bits of the car on the engine for reliability reasons," Whiting added. "Ultimately, it's for us to decide. But we do it in consultation with the other engine manufacturers - and everyone has so far actually done that in the two weeks that the engines have actually been homologated."

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