F1's elimination-style qualifying dropped with immediate effect
Qualifying set to revert to 2015's rules from Bahrain GP after team bosses agree immediate U-turn after farcical Melbourne qualy
By James Galloway in Melbourne
Last Updated: 20/03/16 8:41am
F1 qualifying will revert to the 2015 format from the next race in Bahrain after team bosses agreed to immediately drop the elimination-style system.
The sport's new-look qualifying format for 2016 endured a disastrous debut at the Australian GP on Saturday with cars repeatedly not on track at the end of the three sessions - including the final minutes of Q3 when pole position should have been fought between the two quickest drivers.
Team principals, including Christian Horner, Toto Wolff and Maurizio Arrivabene, and sporting directors met with FIA race director Charlie Whiting to discuss an urgent response on Sunday morning in Melbourne.
Horner and Wolff confirmed on their departures from the 25-minute meeting that the team representatives had unanimously agreed to drop the system with immediate effect.
Pending official ratification by the F1 Commission and World Motor Sport Council, the qualifying system will revert to the more standard three-part knockout format used between 2006 and 2015 from the Bahrain GP on April 2-3.
"We made a mistake and will go back for the next race," Horner told Sky Sports News HQ. "We are usually a pretty dysfunctional group but there was absolute unanimity.
"We're tickling with the wrong areas. It's like trying to introduce a second ball on the pitch in football. The problems aren't in the format of qualifying or what a grand prix is. 2017 represents a great opportunity with different regs and that's the opportunity that should be used for closer racing.
"All the teams are looking to protect their competitiveness, but you've got to look at the bigger picture. What do the fans want? Primarily a drivers' championship. Drivers racing wheel to wheel in exciting fast cars.
"When you try and get 11 teams to write that on a piece of paper what it should be, that's where it goes wrong. That's where it should be taken out of the team's hands. The promoter and the governing body should say, 'this is what Formula 1's going to be, sign up or do something else.'"
A shake-up of knockout qualifying was only first agreed two weeks ago and had already provoked controversy among drivers, who had argued that it would not work.
Team managers also met with FIA race director Charlie Whiting to express reservations about the new-look Q3 during testing at Barcelona, but the elimination system was subsequently rubber-stamped in its original form last week.
Mercedes boss Wolff said that while there would not be any further tinkering with the qualifying system over the rest of the season, F1 "shouldn't wipe completely off the table" the idea of creating a new format to spice up the show in future.
The first race of the 2016 F1 season, the Australian GP, is exclusively live on Sky Sports F1. The race in Melbourne starts at 5am on Sunday morning.