Martin Brundle calls delays to Formula One's qualifying revamp 'embarrassing'

01 Mar 2016 11:53

Formula One's decision to delay the introduction of a revamped qualifying format is 'nothing less than embarrassing', Martin Brundle has said.

The FIA, the sport's governing body, last week announced plans to introduce a new elimination-style system for the start of the new season which gets under way in Melbourne later this month.

But Formula One's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has subsequently said that software controlling the format will not be ready until the fifth round of the championship in Spain.

"Sports need to change and you have to go with the demands of the audience," said Brundle, who was speaking at a media day organised by Sky Sports F1.

"You can't criticise them for saying 'let's try and do something different', but to introduce it and then have to pull back is nothing less than embarrassing."

Reflecting on the change to the format - which would see the slowest driver eliminated every 90 seconds - Brundle, a veteran of 158 grands prix, added: "Criticising is easy but it is a hugely complex business. Every change has a number of ramifications and a lot of knock-on effects and here is one already.

"You can imagine the high-level meeting where that bubble burst, that idea was decided on and they forgot to ask the people on the ground whether they can do it or not.

"The sport needs to go back to basics. We need cars that follow each other and go side-by-side through corners. That's super exciting. Of all the things I wanted to change, qualifying would probably be the last and that is the route they have decided to take."

Lewis Hamilton, who will be bidding to win his fourth title this season, has already questioned how much of an impact the proposed new regulation will have.

The Briton said: "I don't really feel like it is going to change much to be honest, but I hope it is a surprise for us all and I hope it does.''

Hamilton, 31, will be back his Mercedes on Tuesday afternoon on the opening day of the final pre-season test in Barcelona.