Mercedes boss Wolff retains qualifying doubts


Toto Wolff remains unconvinced the new Formula One qualifying format will provide the spectacle fans want to see ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The elimination-style session was widely criticised after the opening race weekend of the season in Australia as teams were caught out with their timing on several occasions, while a dull final session saw just a handful of completed laps as a battle for pole position failed to materialise beyond Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg's early efforts.

Bernie Ecclestone has resisted calls to change the format again or revert to last season's setup at Sakhir.

"This weekend we will see the new qualifying system continue after a less-than-impressive debut in Australia," said Wolff, Mercedes' head of motorsport.

"The teams were unanimous in their opinion of it on Sunday in Melbourne and it wasn't a positive opinion. 

"We haven't found the right format with this change and it's hard to see how it might be more entertaining for the fans this weekend in Bahrain." 

He added: "The sport is under scrutiny on this matter, so careful thought is required in order to make co-ordinated, intelligent steps forward from the position we are in right now. 

"The fans want close racing, in a format they can understand, between the best drivers and cars in the world - in that order. We should be capable of delivering that to the people in the grandstands and watching around the world."

Mercedes picked up where they left off last season in Melbourne as Rosberg led a one-two, but Wolff expects Ferrari to close the gap in Bahrain.

"We have made a solid start to the season," continued Wolff. "However, while our advantage in Melbourne was a healthy one, it was nevertheless close enough that those bad starts could have easily lost us the race. 

"Bahrain is a track that should suit Ferrari, so we expect even smaller gaps and a very close match this weekend."