Teams reject Ecclestone's qualifier plan

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The Independent Online

Formula One teams have rejected a proposal by the head of the Constructors' Association, Bernie Ecclestone, to change the new qualifying format.

Ecclestone asked the teams to vote yesterday on two choices - reverting to last year's two-day system or dropping one of the two Saturday sessions. But the teams were not unanimous so it will remain the same for the time being.

The new system has been criticised as boring and unwieldy, but a Formula One insider said the most that would happen would be minor tinkering with the new format, in which drivers have a single lap in two sessions run back-to-back.

Bas Leinders hopes to fill the third-driver role for Minardi in next weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix after meeting the mileage requirement to qualify for his super licence. The Belgian flew back to Europe after being refused permission to take part in practice in Australia last week as he had not covered 300km in testing. But Leinders completed 315km on Ferrari's track at Fiorano this week, and the team will apply for a super licence before the race in Kuala Lumpur.

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