Formula 1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes it will be the Spanish Grand Prix in May before the new elimination-style qualifying procedure will be used for the first time.
Complex software changes on the timing system means the planned alterations will be delayed because of the time it will take to make those changes, with FOM responsible for the timing system rather than the FIA.
The Spanish Grand Prix is the fifth round of the 2016 season, meaning the races in Australia, Bahrain, China and Russia will use the previous qualifying procedure.
“The new qualifying won’t happen because we can’t get everything together in time,” said Ecclestone to The Independent. “It was going to come in at the start of this year but we are not going to be able to get all the software done in time.
“So the qualifying changes will probably be in Spain. In Australia, it will be the old qualifying. All of the software has to be written so it’s not easy.”
Ecclestone admitted the changes to qualifying is not what he had in mind but hopes it does mix up the grids to make the races more unpredictable.
“It’s not what I wanted in the end,” added Ecclestone. “All I’m trying to do is muddle up the grid so that the guy that is quickest in qualifying doesn’t sit on pole and disappear because why should he be slow in the race if he is quick in qualifying?”