FIA confirms one-day qualifying for 2004

Formula One will scrap two-day qualifying next year by condensing it into an extended Saturday session, the sport's governing body announced.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA)'s World Motor Sport Council confirmed proposals approved by the Formula One commission grouping the 10 teams, promoters and organisers.

The FIA said in a statement after the meeting in Paris that the new qualifying session would be held in two parts, separated by a two-minute interval.

The first part would be similar to this year's Friday qualifying, with drivers having one timed lap each and running alone and in the order in which they finished the last race.

The first session of the year, at the Australian Grand Prix in March, will be run in 2003 championship order with any new drivers starting according to numerical order.

Any car stopping in the first session would not be allowed to take part in the second.

The first session times will determine the starting order of the second, with teams not allowed to refuel cars or change settings between the end of qualifying and the start of the race.

Friday will be given over entirely to two-hour free practice sessions, with the bottom six teams in the championship allowed to run three cars.

However, the driver of the third car must not have competed in more than six world championship events in the past two seasons and must have a super-licence.

The teams may also run their third car in separate livery, allowing them a means of raising extra one-off sponsorship.

The FIA said the choice of dry weather tyres must be made before the start of Saturday practice, a measure designed to ensure teams take part fully in Friday's sessions.

The new engine rules for next season limit teams to one per car per weekend and there were fears that some might limit running on Fridays to conserve the engines.

Among other regulation changes, the pit lane speed limit was raised to 100 kph and teams will be allowed to use four drivers during the course of a season, not including any third driver used in Friday practice.