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F1 qualifying rule changes are mooted

London: Changes to qualifying designed to stop teams keeping their cars in the garage instead of fighting for pole position are to be discussed at the next Formula One pre-season test.

Team principals and the sport’s governing body, the FIA, will meet on February 21 in Bahrain, amid concerns that saving tyres could encourage the teams not to contest pole position in the final part of qualifying.

To try and maintain the spectacle, Formula One’s Strategy Group has asked the teams and the FIA to come up with ways of forcing drivers to go for the best grid positions in Q3.

Under existing rules, the top 10 qualifiers have to start the race on the tyres they set their best time on, which means some elect to sit out the final session to give them optimum tyre choice for the race.

Plans likely to be discussed are believed to include supplying drivers with an extra set of qualifying tyres, specifically for the final part of the session. Meanwhile Toto Wolff, Mercedes motorsport director, said he was surprised by the torrid start world champions Red Bull enjoyed to pre-season testing in Jerez last week.

“Personally I am surprised,” he said. “The problems on the first and second day were expected, but finishing the test with almost no mileage is not what I would have expected from Red Bull.”

Red Bull admitted they will have to return “to the drawing board” to solve their issues with the RB10, but have said they are confident it can be fixed by the start of the second test in Bahrain.