Bernie Ecclestone admits new qualifying format is 'pretty crap'

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Bernie Ecclestone has declared F1's newly-adopted live qualifying system "pretty crap" after its debut in Australia.

The headlines after qualifying in Melbourne were dominated by the criticisms of the live elimination rules which were introduced in controversial fashion ahead of the season. Ecclestone and F1 bosses had originally hoped a new system would mix up the grid but that failed to materialise in an hour of limited running.

"I watched it, but I have to say I wasn't enthusiastic about it from day one," the F1 boss told Autosport. "It was pretty crap. But this is what we've got, until we can change it. The only thing about this [format] is that the quick guys could have run off the road, or done anything a little bit silly, and then you would get a mixed-up grid, which is what we wanted. It just happens that Mercedes are still very, very good."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner called for a return to the old system in time for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Even though the new format led to a Mercedes one-two Ecclestone thinks the previous rules made the grid too predictable.

"If we go back to the old system, I tell you what would happen: Mercedes would be first and second. Pretty simple. What I don't want to see is where you and I could predict how the grid is going to be for the start of a race, and how that race is going to finish.

"You and I could sell everything we've got and put our money on Hamilton winning. It's not what the public want. If you are a fan and you are on the way to a race we should be discussing whether or not Hamilton has to push, whether the Ferraris are quick, or maybe somebody else comes through, but they can't do that anymore. That's what the problem is."