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Changes to qualifying in 2010 rules

FIAThe FIA's new sporting and technical regulations for the 2010 Formula 1 world championship, published today, feature changes to the qualifying procedure to accommodate the expected 26-car grid next year.

The hour-long session will still be split into three segments, but will now see the slowest eight dropped in the opening 20-minute Q1 session, and another eight in Q2 to allow for 10 drivers to contest the shoot-out over 10 minutes.

Moreover, in a move that will please fans, Q3 will now be run in low-fuel configuration with the regulations taking into account the re-fuelling ban for 2010.

Other significant points in the document, posted on the FIA's website, include a continuation of the current points system, as opposed to Bernie Ecclestone's previously mooted winner-takes-all medals scheme.

Each car's minimum weight has been raised to 620kg, to take into account the added weight of KERS - which will still be allowed under next year's regulations, despite FOTA's agreement not to use the system.

Tyre warmers will also be allowed, despite previous indications that they would be banned on cost-saving grounds.

The re-written regulations also no longer contain any reference to the proposals for a two-tier Formula 1, that was at the centre of the row between the sport's governing body and the Formula One Teams' Association prior to the signing of the tri-partite Concord Agreement last month.

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