Liberty Media is pushing to change the format of Formula 1 qualifying in 2019, it has been confirmed. Reports last week had claimed that qualifying could be split into four sessions next year, plans now affirmed by FIA race director Charlie Whiting.
F1's American owners are keen to put their stamp on F1 and improvements have been made in promoting the sport on social media, but not all changes have been welcomed.
Fans were put off by a recent deal struck to market gambling during grands prix, while Liberty's proposed changes to regulations in 2021 have prompted Ferrari to threaten to quit the sport.
The current knockout system of qualifying has been in place since 2006, save for a brief dalliance with a 'one-by-one' format in 2016 that was soon shelved after a farcical debut in Australia.
Full details on the new format are yet to be finalised, but it appears that a change is coming.
"It's more something that's come from F1," said F1 race director Charlie Whiting.
"They've been doing a lot of research among fans, and they feel this is one of the things that the fans would like.
"Slightly shorter [sessions], slightly shorter time between them, four go out in Q1, four, four, leaving eight. I personally think it's quite a nice idea, but that's not my decision.
"Our next action is to see exactly what would be required tyre wise. I can't honestly remember what Q4 was in length – I think it was 10 minutes – and thus whether or not you could do two runs with two sets of tyres in Q4.
"That's something that needs to be looked at carefully."
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