Start, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

Should F1 trial reverse grid races instead of qualifying in 2020?

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A plan to change the qualifying format at up to three races on the 2020 F1 calendar has divided drivers and teams.

Drivers have largely criticised the proposal. But according to Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn teams are unanimously in favour of the plan, and they are conducting simulations to evaluate how the change could work.

Brawn says the plan will involve dropping the usual three-part qualifying format at three races next year. Instead a short race will be held on Saturday with drivers starting in reverse championship order. The result will be used to set the grid order for Sunday’s grand prix.

Just six months ago the series considered then rejected a different plan to change qualifying next year. What do you think of the latest proposal?


Formula 1 is already planning a major change to the technical regulations for 2021 and introducing a budget cap. But the rules will remain largely stable next year, which has prompted the idea of using a few races to test changes to the sporting regulations.

The qualifying race idea will see the leading drivers all start at the back of the field together and have to work their way forward to reach the front of the grid. This would create potential excitement not just in the race itself, but also in the grid order it would create for the grand prix.


The current three-part qualifying format is well-liked and there is no obvious need to change it. Replacing it with a reverse-race would end a decades-old tradition which originated when the world championship began.

As drivers have pointed out, the problem with the quality of racing today is not due to how the grid is formed but a result of the design of the cars and the huge differences in wealth and size between the teams. These require other solutions which a different qualifying format won’t fix.

I say

Leaving aside the merits of a ‘qualifying race’ for one moment, my first objection to this plan is the idea of having one format for some weekends and a different format for others. As the same points are awarded each weekend, the format (and race distance, for that matter) should be consistent.

The format itself doesn’t strike me as especially fair either. For example, five race into this year Kevin Magnussen was seventh in the championship and his team mate Romain Grosjean was 17th. In a reverse-grid race at the next round Grosjean would have started from the second row while Magnussen would have been back in 14th.

I don’t like to see F1 drivers being punished for performing well. Or, conversely, to have a rule under which a driver who crashes out of the first six races would be rewarded with pole position for round seven.

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But above all I object to getting rid of qualifying. Races are great, but qualifying sessions are special too. It’s a chance to see who can wring the absolute maximum from their cars over a single lap. Whether it’s Carlos Reutemann beating all bar one of the turbos at Monza in 1981, or any of Ayrton Senna’s magical Monaco pole positions, right up to Charles Leclerc’s wall-brushing effort at Singapore last month, qualifying has given so many great and memorable moments in F1’s history.

The argument in favour of qualifying races amounts to little more than ‘it might be fun so let’s give it a try’. I am not enthused by the idea F1 should destroy one its great traditions just to see what would happen.

You say

Should F1 try holding reverse championship order races instead of qualifying sessions at some races next year? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Do you agree F1 should hold reverse-championship-order races instead of qualifying to decide the grid at three grands prix in 2020?

  • Strongly disagree (68%)
  • Strongly agree (12%)
  • Slightly agree (10%)
  • Slightly disagree (9%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (2%)
  • No opinion (0%)

Total Voters: 314

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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152 comments on “Should F1 trial reverse grid races instead of qualifying in 2020?”

  1. I really love qualifying and therefor would hate to see it go. The only benefit I can see is that there would be more fights on track. But to my liking, these fights would be too artificial.

    1. @mosquito Qualifying will still exist even if they do end up changing the format to a more exciting one. I lightheartedly object to the heading of this topic that implies otherwise. Saturday will still be used to determine the starting order of the drivers for Sunday. They will still have to drive their cars as fast as possible to qualify for their starting spot on the grid. Being a mini race they presumably won’t have to conserve fuel and tires and can just go for it in a sprint format without worrying about that ruining a race length overall tire and pit strategy.

      1. @robbie, I agree with you. Its still a form of qualifying, just not the one that we are used to. And frankly that has changed so much over the decades that we cant say its destroying a “tradition”.

        I think it’s worth a shot. Also, it should be noted that not all rounds have the same format. Monaco has practice on Thursday, not Friday. Monaco is also not even 300km like the other races. In fact, it could even be argued that Monaco has the race on Saturday, given how important qualifying is. Spa doesnt have a cool down lap; drivers go straight into the pits after the race is over. If the format can be different for those races, why not others? I think circuits should be given the ability to tailor the event to suit the fans and make it more unique. Canada used to open the pitlane to fans on Thursday, and it proved to be such a hit that now other circuits do it too.

        1. @umartajuddin I understand the point you’re making, and those small quirks of circuits that you mention are, I suppose, comparable in size to the historic variations in qualifying.

          But the new qualifying proposals aren’t like that. They’re a huge departure from tradition.

          Practice at Monaco is still practice, the day on which it happens is unimportant. The TWEAKS to qualifying since the inception of the world championship are well documented and this proposal is far greater than any before.

      2. Outstanding post, but it should be both a sprint race and traditional qually, combine the results to determine the grid for the grand prix.

    2. How about the top ten 1 -10 start from the inside lane and the 11- 20 start on the outside lane or vise versa everyone get an advantage

    3. We already have something like this in F1, its just not official.

      Every other race you have a leading driver, usually from the top 6 who finds himself demoted to the back of the field, battling their way to the front. This is fine where its one or two drivers, they rearly win, but they at least provide the race directors with the entertaining image of these more powerful cars over take the minows.

      The likely effect of this, is the leading drivers will qualify close to the front, and so the race proper guarante the prospect of these higher spec engines catching and over-taking those in front.

      My guess is this would be a strategy of ‘wing men’ holding up the the teams behind them to give their leading team’s driver a chance of making it to the front. If this were to happen on circuits where its harder to overtake, it might see results which had little to do with the quality of the car or the driver.

      All this for the entertainment value of overtakes. Surely there’s a better way to achive the same results. I would like to see races where the DRS was allowed more than a second behind the car in front, say up to 2 seconds.

      You might even vary this from circuit to circuit based on how easy or hard it is to overtake on those circuits.

  2. If they’re hell-bent on trying it at least do it this year after the championship is settled, hopefully they figure out it was a bad idea and then scrap it for next year.

    1. This is probably about the only proposal I’d contemplate supporting.

      However, just because the championship is sorted in terms uof the WCC/WDC does not mean that all positions are sorted and there’s a huge amount of money at stake. Imagine the cost to a team that loses 3rd or 4th position to a team that was running in 8th that flukes a podium or two (or even a win) because they ended up on pole after these sorts of qualifying in a couple or races where overtaking proves pretty much impossible.

    2. Good idea. I was going to suggest a random additional weekend (aren’t the teams all staying behind for testing after the Abu Dhabi gp? But it makes more sense to do it on a proper race weekend once there is nothing to lose. Saying that, although Mercedes and Lewis will have won, the rest of the finishing places are still being fought for….

    3. I agree with your sentiment. I think it is important and valuable to try new things, such as a different qualifying format, but the outlined format is a significant departure from F1’s traditional qualifying. It could have a dramatic impact on key races and thus the championship and I think no one wants a “test” to be the deciding factor in the championship.

      Finding a way to trial it without impacting the championship result would be the ideal situation.

    4. This might be the only way to have the likes of ‘Williams’ relive their glory days, with starts at the front of the field. ;)

  3. I don’t know how a reverse grid would work with engine penalties. It’s two different systems conflicting with each other. So Mercedes would take new parts since they are at the back anyway and lower down the order teams who might get a lot of benefit from this find themselves at the back again due to an engine change. I haven’t even mentioned what happens in the case of large smash that damages or hurts drivers the day before the main race.

    1. I would assume engine penalties and such would not be applied to the reverse grid race, and would be applied to the actual race on Subday

    2. +1. Surely, the reverse grid and short race in qualifying will not only destroy F1’s qualifying legacy, it will create a chaos “beyond belief”. I have no doubt I will skip and not watch these qualifying races if they appear.

    3. Add to that all the B teams which will step out of the way of the main. This will never work as long as teams are closely tied as they are now.
      Still don’t get why they keep trying to change qualifying while it’s the only thing stable and working well.

      1. Concerning B teams, it is worth to remember that Jaime Alguersuari was kicked out of Toro Rosso for not letting Sebastian Vettel by soon enough on the Friday Free Practice of the 2011 Korean Grand Prix! Helmut Marko was furious with Alguersuari:
        If Marko was furious for this kind of incident in Free Practice then imagine his reaction in qualifying races!!!

    4. It would be a reverse grid for qualifying, not for the race. So even if Mercedes are 1 and 2 in the WDC and have to start on the last row for qualifying, they are very unlikely to be outside the top 10 for the race.

      1. @krommenaas qualifying IS a race now.

        1. I was replying to the statement “So Mercedes would take new parts since they are at the back anyway.” But they wouldn’t be at the back in the actual Sunday race, which is where the penalties for new parts would be awarded. So the OP’s concern isn’t actually a concern.

      2. There’s a thought.

        what about qualfiing races in reverse order, with the cars pruned in successive qualifiers. This way they would have to really battle to make it out of the last 10, and then battle in the next qualifier to make it out of the last 15, and so on until we get the last 10 scrapping for their positions.

        Add to this the start for each qualifer being based first on their championship positions, and then on the reverse order of the previous qualifier, and you might have cars trying to finish ahead of the prune, but close to the back of each qualifer.


  4. I have been in favour of trying reverse grid qualifying races for a while, now, but these plans trouble me.

    Firstly, I disagree with having different rules for different races without a good reason. Trialling an interesting idea is not a good reason to mess with the championship.

    Secondly, I disagree with a single qualifying race to decide grid order. It’s too open to abuse (or tactics). It’s also too influenced by track: Monaco, for instance, is not a track where the leaders could realistically get to the front, where there are other tracks where they could blast past in a handful of laps. The penalty for being at the top in the championship is therefore too variable.

    I’ve posted my own ideas on here often, but it would go something like this:
    Q1 as current. Drivers are eliminated.
    Q2 all drivers except top 8 in a reverse grid sprint. First 2 cars proceed to Q3. Could also be normal quality instead of a sprint race.
    Q3 top 10 shootout reverse grid sprint.

    This could be messed about with, but would have less of a penalty for difficult to overtake tracks while, at the same time having 2 extra, exciting races to watch. It would also encourage teams to make their cars able to overtake as well as possible, as they’ll all have to.

    1. Your idea means some cars have to drive those sprint races and some don’t. That’s a huge difference in engine wear, much more than we have now. So not an option imo.

      1. Here’s something I think would be worth the experiment. Divide the 20 drivers into four 5-car groups. Group 1 is the top 5 drivers in the WDC standings, Group 2 the 6-10 place drivers, Group 3 is 11-15, Group 4 is driver 16-20. No mini race is longer than approximately one stint length of the race. So a mini race requires no pitting for tires and requires one third the fuel that the full race does. So let’s call it a 20 (or thereabouts) lap sprint race for which tire and fuel conservation is not an issue. They can just go for it.

        I would have 2 20-lap mini races where Groups 1 and 3 get reversed and race it out, and Groups 2 and 4 race it out, and the order in which they finish determines the starting order. Ie. the top 5 of the groups 1 and 3 qualifier are the top 5 starters of the race and the top 5 of the groups 2 and 4 qualifier are the 6-10 starters. The bottom 5 of race one will be the 11-16 place starters and the bottom 5 of race 2 are the final spot placers on the grid.

        1. Oh yeah, I can just hear the buffoon Crofty trying to explain that one!!

    2. I’m really not in favour of modifying the qualy system. But contrarily to you I quite like the idea of testing changes for a very limited amount of race next year… If we would have 3 venues over 22 where we test that system, these 3 GP will become quite special, sort of an additional interest point. I would suggest to do it in one of these “sub par type” of track (don’t do it in Silverstone, Spa, Monza etc) and let’s see… No big risk, and a good way to see in real life what’s what.

  5. I don’t think it’s a great idea for the most part, but then again I’m all for gathering data. I think they should trial it, but not in a championship round – the idea of the championship being decided by something in its beta phase is silly.

    I think the best way to do it would be to demote a round to half-points. The downside of not being a full round could be offset by being ‘one of its kind’. Or bring back the German GP on reduced fees just to run it…

  6. F1 teams spent thousands of millions hiring the world top specialists. Those specialists aim to make everything predictable. Unfortunately the organization needs to sort to this kind of things to make things interesting

  7. John Ballantyne
    6th October 2019, 12:01

    At least half the tracks in the current calendar are nearly impossible to overtake on. This change would make the fastest cars almost permanent back markers, I don’t think that the big spenders and big earners would put up with that for long, Not to mention the damage bills.

    1. It only going to be tried at 3 races, probably at tracks where they know overtaking is possible.

    2. They are only impossible to overtake on for similar cars. With a reverse grid, even Monaco would have overtaking, as we’ve seen when Verstappen and Leclerc had to start at the back.

      But I don’t think the plan would be to ever have all races’ qualifying this way.

    3. Since when has a Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull had a problem overtaking? (discounting Monaco)

  8. We have seen many instances of one of the top six cars working it’s way to the front over a full race distance. Now imagine the destruction derby when all six are racing each other and trying to pass slower cars over a shorter race distance. F1 supposedly trying to cut costs and then come up with an idea that is going to involve replacing damaged wings, floors etc. Clever idea but I suppose a destruction derby will be exciting for the casual viewer who they now seem desperate to pull in.

  9. I love qualifying: the current format produces the best viewing experience of all the formats I’ve known since the eighties (though the early “do your thing however and whenever you like” format did excite me even more, even if there where quite a few dead periods before the action begun).

    But the fact that it would force the engineers to design cars that are able do work and overtake in dirty air in order to reach the front makes me defend this one.

    It would produce a qualifying session/race that is a bit out of tune with f1’s tradition, for sure, and that a bit hard to accept (I don’t know if it would be better or worse as entertainment) but it would make F1 a better formula, specially for sunday races.

    So, I’d give the qualifying race a try.

  10. Seems this is run by the fia, two options for strongly agree!

  11. The only way a reverse grid could possibly work in a kind of fairer way and it’s a huge stretch, and would probably be overly complex and obviously would completely change the sport. Is if drivers were awarded points based on how many places they had made up by the end of the race in comparison to their starting position, and for teams in the bottom half of the grid in qualifying how many places above where they qualified did they finish at the end.

    So the driver on pole would want to start at the very back to get a maximum points haul and the drivers who qualified in the bottom half would want to fight desperately hard to not lose places to finish above where they qualified.

  12. The original poll has been replaced with a new one due to an error in one of the poll options. Sorry about that!

    1. That’s a relief @keithcollantine I initially thought you were using Liberty’s F1 Fan voice’s method for collecting votes to support an “ all the fans love it” narrative.

      Thanks for clarifying it.

  13. No way!
    Leave the hands off qualifying!

    I mean it – it is time to riot!
    Time to make them listen, rather than let them decide how they want to kill F1!

  14. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    6th October 2019, 12:38

    How would reverse grid work? If the better teams knew that they would be starting at the back, would all the teams now all deliberately try to qualify as slow as possible within the rules? This would turn into a complete mess. Surely they wouldn’t try their hardest if they knew qualifying first means the exact opposite??

    1. It nots a race in that sense, its a reverse grid sprint race based on championship position to then determine the starting positions for the actual race on Sunday

    2. Of it it’s based on the Championship positions, it means if one of the fast cars gets a DNF in the first race, they’re guaranteed a win from pole in the 2nd…. If you’re in 11th place, you’d let everyone past to ensure you finished 20th. It’d be like quali at Monza but during the race!

      1. This should be the comment of the day. Well said!
        petebaldwin (@petebaldwin)
        6th October 2019, 12:47
        Of it it’s based on the Championship positions, it means if one of the fast cars gets a DNF in the first race, they’re guaranteed a win from pole in the 2nd…. If you’re in 11th place, you’d let everyone past to ensure you finished 20th. It’d be like quali at Monza but during the race!

    3. @thegianthogweed There talking about having the qualifying race start in reverse championship order.

  15. I think that F1 needs to watch the midfield battles this year. Since all the cars, except maybe McLaren and Williams are pretty close in performance, the racing has been extraordinary. That’s what we need, smaller deltas and better tires.

    It’s funny thought, that we have one of the most exciting seasons (if you ignore Mercedes dominating) and yet we’re still trying to find some magic formula to improve the show.

    1. The midfield is always going to be closer together than the frontrunners, regardless of the rules. It’s called the Bell curve. So while we can dream of all cars being as close as the midfield is this year, that’s never going to happen, and we still need solutions to make races less boring at the front.

  16. I’m in a minority in quite liking the idea. Computer simulations are one thing, but it’ll always be different on the track. Why not try it and see what happens in reality? I see Keith’s point about different formats at different races during a championship and I agree with that being the only thing I don’t like about a trial. That said, if everyone knew that every “fifth” race of the year was going to be a reverse grid qualifying then it’s still the same for everyone and they know what they’re aiming at (much like the double points finale debacle…). I’m all for trying things; we might all love it.

    Just imagine the grid now, the two Williams’ cars heading the field with the Mercedes’ and Ferrari’s powering through from the back. To me, there’s no denying that would be good fun. There’d be all kinds of interesting strategy games.

    Of course, it might be terrible… in which case, it was only a trial…

  17. I have no interest in watching gimmick races so it’d be a flat no to me. It might be fun, it might “spice up the races” and it might pull in new fans but it’ll lose one in me.

    They can give it a go to see if it works or not but I have no interest in seeing it working. Watching team orders to swap the 2nd drivers with the 1st drivers each week and then easily making they way past the F1.5 cars like they do now isn’t what I’m going to spend my Sundays watching.

    1. @petebaldwin why would they be swapping first and second drivers? And why would they be passing F1.5 drivers more often on Sundays than now?

      I’m concerned by the changes, but if Saturday is a race starting in WDC order there’s no reason to think they’d have breathing room to swap cars with team orders. Or that a second driver would accept it.

      As fast cars already breeze past F1.5 cars, we can only assume they’ll do that on Saturdays. Leaving them ahead on Sunday, no?

  18. My guess is they’ll try it at Paul Ricard and Russia. Two circuits in desperate need of a serious dose of some artificial enhancement. And perhaps Monza, after the debacle this year.

    I’m against this proposal in principle, but I’ll also admit to being somewhat intrigued by it…

  19. I was going to vote strongly disagree since qualifying is one area of Formula 1 that works well. But then I thought what the hell, it’s just 3 races, if Ross Brawn and the teams think it’s an idea worth exploring, go for it. So I voted strongly agree. A bit of a ‘reverse order’ vote maybe.

  20. I don’t have a problem with them trying different formats at different weekends. In fact, one thing that would benefit F1 would be to make each weekend more unique. As long as points are only awarded based on the end result of the main race, and each is worth the same.

    However this proposal I’m not sure about.

    I do think that the current format filters the cars from fastest to slowest too much. I’d like to see qualifying shortened to give drivers less opportunities. That way it’s not as artificial but it could still mix things up.

    For example, as there are only 20 cars, have two Q sessions instead of 3. Make them 15 and 8 minutes. Or keep three Q sessions but make them all shorter (15, 11, 7 minutes, for example)

  21. Absolutely opposed. I admit I’m getting old, and a purist, but I’m also open to certain things being tweaked to entertain and engage a new generation. But this is not one of those things.

    Keith here explains it nicely. Qualifying is the rawest metric of pure speed. We need it.

    Carlos Sainz jr also got it right, with the main real issues already being addressed (financial equity etc) let’s not toy with other elements just yet. Let’s fix the core of the problems and then we can start tinkering further if we really must.

    1. To add something interesting regarding qualifying. A mate of mine who follows F1 very casually told me recently that this season he’s ONLY watched qualifying. I’m sure it’s not common among casual fans, but a very interesting comment to me.

  22. It’s the most stupid idea – why bother to post the best time to end up at the back of the grid? The teams will compete how to post the worsest lap time without overheating the engine – pit limiter permanently, full tanks and driving sinusoidal during the whole lap. Some may stop the car at the track and wait couple of minutes before continuing. Just imagine the ‘excitement’ of this. It’s a sport! If I want to see a something stupid I’d go to the circus or watch Mr. Bean.

    1. @zerrega you’re not the only person who misunderstood.

      Reverse order WDC POSITIONS are used to determine Saturdays grid. THAT race determines Sundays starting order. Not reversed.

      Going slowly will not help anybody at any time.

  23. I like the idea of reverse grid for the short race because it will be harder for the fastest teams to win and there will be more chances for slower teams to catch more points. So I think there will be more close racing and it can help for smaller teams.
    Of course I like the current qualifying system but it means the fastest starts first so races are often boring for win.
    So I think F1 should try the reverse grid system. (And perhaps Drivers can get some points for their qualifying results. It means there will be qualifying, reverse grid short race, and the “big” race.)

  24. 3 stage qualifying no good?
    how about a sealed-bids grid then? Each driver submits a bid in a sealed envelope, the money coming from their own funds.
    Or a triathlon grid. Places determined by points in a foot race, bake-off, and 3 rounds of laser tag. Losers get dumped in the gunge tank
    Or how about giving each driver a handful of laps to set a fastest time. That could work..

  25. If they must change something, remove the parc ferme post qualifying. Allowing teams to make significant changes to their cars after qualifying may give a chance for teams who’s cars run better in race trim to claw back a few places in the race.

    1. Michael Hutton
      8th October 2019, 15:14

      A qualifying race (reverse grid or not) is fraught with danger. What happens to the cars that crash? Will they be given dispensation to rebuild or are they out?
      You simply cannot have such a race at Monaco or some other tracks like the Hungaroring because overtaking isn’t possible.
      My suggestion is that we scrap the 3 session qualifying that we have now and instead have each car go out ALONE for
      4 laps and that is qualifying done.
      After all, practice should be what it means and the teams should have sorted their cars by Saturday morning.

  26. No. Just no.

    And everybody thought the craziness finished when Bernie was moved out.

    1. @dbradock But again, it was more crazy to just go ahead and change the quali, like in 2016 under BE, without any experimentation the season before. That cause uproar and a change after two races in 2016, and that could have been avoided.

      1. Exactly, it was crazy and everybody except the FIA apparently knew it.

        But here we are doing the same thing again, meddling with one of the things that doesn’t need changing.

  27. I voted for ‘strong disagree’ but if we really had to have a different format for three GP-weekends with one of them being a European venue, one an Asian, and one a North American one, then my choices would be: For Europe: Monaco (or Circuit de Catalunya, or Hungaroring, or perhaps even Circuit Paul Ricard). For Asia: Singapore (or Yas Marina Circuit), and for NA: Mexico.

    1. @jerejj Good point, I was going to put that as a condition for my ‘agree’ vote, if they’re going to do this at 3 venues, choose the least interesting tracks at least. No Spa, Suzuka or Interlagos. Maybe Silverstone as I think it could suit the track and occasion quite well. That said, can you imagine the chaos at Monaco with the faster cars all trying to charge through?

      1. @david-br Yeah, maybe Monaco mightn’t be the best choice for this purpose, but the other four alternatives I brought up could be.

    2. ‘strongly’

  28. I have gone for “Slightly Agree” even though that sounds at odds with what I usually proclaim in the threads here.

    I believe that Qualifying is the best aspect of F1 at the moment and should be left alone until other issues such as tyres and overtaking have been addressed.

    That said, if the experts (excuse while I stop laughing) want to mess with qualifying then I will “Slightly Agree” but only if – Only If – it is at one or two races just to try it out.
    I think that makes more sense than just forcing the idea onto an entire season.

    Bottom line for me is leave qualifying alone – stop trying to misdirect attention from crap races at crap tracks – leave it alone!

  29. I think they should try it out in Abu Dhabi this year assuming the championships have been decided before then to ensure that nobody loses anything.

    1. @rob91 But there could still be WCC-positions up for grabs below RBR, and the WCC-positions are essential for the teams because of the prize money-structure.

  30. Reverse grid races are a good idea but certainly not in reverse championship order. That’s just almost always going to punish the same drivers all the time.

    But a better idea would be to follow the Formula 2 format where at certain races F1 could have a sprint and feature race. My idea for an F1 format would be:

    Friday – 60 Minute FP1

    Saturday – 60 Minute FP2
    60 Minute Quali (the current format is perfect)

    Sunday – Feature Race (Around 260km instead of 300)
    Sprint Race (Shorter race with the top 10 finishers of the feature race in reverse order)

    Current points system should remain for the feature race. However for the sprint race F1 can adopt the previous points system for the top 8 drivers.

    Qualifying points can also be awarded to the top 3 (4-2-1).

    However in Monaco, the current format should remain in order to keep the crown jewel unique from other events. But in Monaco there should be a 2 stop pit stop rule.

    1. No, it isn’t. F1 should be a real championship, not a lottery.

  31. NO.
    Only for Mickey Mouse in Disneyland!
    Don’t wrestlingize F1! Hands off, please.

    1. ‘Wrestlingize’ indeed. This is exactly what we feared with American owners.

    2. I have no idea what


      means but I’m pretty sure I am against it! ;P

      1. It’s WWE on Wheels!

        Fight! Fight! Fake fighting, sure, but that’s not the point. Racing Point will be under extreme pressure to change their name tho… Fighting Point F1

  32. Totally rubbish idea when we all know it will clearly benefit the teams with most ties to others who will then let them by easier.

    We’ve already seen this corruption (yes that’s what it is, favors for money) with a perfect example in Monaco 2018 with Force India letting Mercedes by and them relying on it.

    I despair at the direction this is taking. The fanboost thing in FE, and now this. Fastest lap point is bad enough.

  33. Why not replace FP3 with a 1 hour reverse grid race where the points are for constructor championship only? Stops the interference with the drivers championship, teams still get long run analysis for the race. Could even emphasise the yeam aspect by making the scoring based on the average finishing position and have both drivers on each podium step.

  34. Everyone else has covered the main reasons I loathe this idea, so I’ll focus on something I find particularly silly about it.

    They want to determine whether something will work in the future, specifically with the new 2021-regulation cars which should be capable of following closer due to different methods of downforce-generation, which will be running on lower-profile tyres that may be less prone to thermal peakiness and early death in dirty air, which they hope will be closer in performance, and which may or may not utilise DRS.

    And they want to test this idea using 2020 cars, which are going to be awful in dirty air, with useless tyres that drop off if they’re run in said dirty air, which will have a huge gap in performance from the front to the back (we don’t know that, but it seems likely) and DRS will be present and operational.

    Any test carried out using 2020 cars would be pointless because there’s no way they can draw any sort of accurate or sensible conclusion from the data they kick out. All they have an experiment that produces a result with a shelf life of December 2020… beyond that point, if they really are going to change the character of the cars, the data is useless.

    1. This means they need to develop 2020 cars with that in mind.

      1. @jureo They will have already signed off on 2020 designs & some of the top teams will have already started the manufacturing process.

        If they were to have to change car design philosophy at this stage it would only hurt the smaller teams who don’t have the resources or facilities to shift R&D focus at such a late stage, Especially on top of having to start prepping for the big change in 2021.

    2. @neilosjames A very good point and one that I think Sainz was hinting at too. But I still think it is worth experimenting just to see fan reaction etc. For the sake of the experiment, and considering 2020 cars vs 2021 cars, might we just make a general assumption that the running order will be similar due to the resources of the teams, even with some capping, and that 2021 cars will be running closer to each other and battling in a more frequent and exciting way, but not necessarily in a much different order of standing than now, so we will in 2021 at least have genuine racing without drs (theoretically). In other words I’m not sure the experiment ends December 2020 due to the totally new cars coming in after that, for we will have had a taste of a different quali that is not entirely meaningless.

  35. I am in some what of a minority. But yes! I want the show to be good. This will give teams in encentive to overtake well and fast.

  36. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    6th October 2019, 14:41

    This is all so silly it’s beyond sensible debate.

  37. If there was a real title fight, I wouldn’t do it. I would do it in a season like this. So, let’s leave quali alone until October, have a look at the standings and tendencies and based on that do a couple qualifying races at the last few GPs.

  38. I remember Alonso trying to pass Petrov in Abu Dhabi in 2010. Very frustrating for a leading team. And we’ve seen several instances of a top six car starting at the back of the grid and easily reaching 5th or 6th by race end with minimal excitement thanks to drs.
    Neither of these scenarios make me think a reverse grid would add excitement. Overtaking of itself doesn’t add much to the race intrigue and strategy that make many taxes interesting. But I guess the thought is that it will improve the show. If F2 or Indy car or another spec series are what F1 are aiming at then a spec series is what’s needed, not gimmicks like this. It would also need a new fan to replace me.

    1. @scalextric The several instances in which a top-six car has relatively easily reached P5 or P6 after a back-of-the-grid start have been down to much more than ‘just’ the DRS, though. It’s mainly down to the significant pace-advantage over the rest of the field that has allowed them to claw back that many positions by race-end. DRS has had next to zero impact on those overall position-gains through the field.

  39. Duncan Snowden
    6th October 2019, 15:42

    As I said earlier in the week, I agree with Gunther Steiner: give it a chance. I’m not desperately in favour of it, but neither am I dead-set against it. I can see the upsides.

    I don’t see a different format for different race weekends being much of an argument against, though. The tracks are different. Heck, Singapore and the middle-eastern races take place in the dark. The WEC and Australian Supercars have different race lengths over the course of their seasons. As long as everyone knows what the calendar will look like at the start of the year, then they understand what the game that must be played is.

  40. So…… for me the question is are we looking for competition or are we looking for entertainment?

    If competition, then leave it as it is, and find ways for the lower teams to improve on their cars/teams development.

    If we are solely looking for entertainment, then hey, go ahead and do whatever is neccessary and we’ll understand that F1 is no longer a competitive sport but rather just an entertainment show.

    That’s my take!

    1. Well I think you’re looking for both. If it’s just to determine who the fastest is, then you don’t need even need the races, as in a perfect qualifying format, the fastest car will be on pole, the 2nd fastest will start 2nd, etc, and the race will only consist of the cars drifting further and further apart.

      It’s precisely to prevent pure competition that we already have artificially short-lived tires and mandatory pitstops.

  41. Qualifying is dull…… Largely nothing happens and then it all comes down to the last two minutes. Bring on the reverse grids.

  42. I don’t believe that the people who oppose this could actually resist watching it :)

  43. I’m all for the experimentation so that we can see in real life what the reverse grid mini races will look like. Then we/they don’t just have to speculate and can rather make informed decisions.

    I think we also have to wait and see exactly what they have in mind for they (Brawn and the teams) are indeed running through models as to what might make quali even more exciting.

    For example…does it have to be one Saturday mini race of 20 cars reversed by their WDC standings? Or can it be the top ten drivers reverse themselves and have a race and the bottom ten reverse themselves and have their mini race and the order is decided that way? That way you don’t have to have the top drivers fighting through every driver on the grid but rather a condensed set of drivers allowing for more room to manoeuvre and advance in a shorter time. Sometimes top drivers start at the back for whatever reason and still podium but need the whole full race to claw their way back up. Perhaps the mini reverse races could be just 10 cars in size.

    So I envision that they could come up with models of formats that see us not have the top drivers too disadvantaged from qualifying where they have become accustomed, nor the lesser drivers/cars too advantaged by starting a mini race in front, but rather a more exciting way to achieve results to which we have become accustomed, with the general order of things remaining similar to what we think makes sense in the end.

    1. Just wanted to add, I rarely have an issue with a topic headline but in this case I do think the heading skews things when it claims reverse grid races might be ‘instead’ of qualifying. I think the likes of Brawn would object to this strongly. Reverse grid mini races on Saturday would still be qualifying for the order in which they start on Sunday. It will still be called Qualifying as it always has, even when the format has been different at different times in the past.

  44. The changes to qualifying were done due to Ferrari and Schumacher’s dominance in the early and mid 2000’s at Bernie’s insistence cause people were getting tired of a one horse race. It never should have been changed. That change started the steamroll of sporting changes where It’s now acceptable to change rules at will and even mid season.

    1. Changes to qualifying were never to do with domination. I can’t be bothered to look them up right now but I’m fairly certain that one lap qually was brought in in the mid 2000s to combat teams sitting waiting in the garage for good track conditions.

      It was Schumacher himself that most famously (to my knowledge) benefited from a qually tweak in this time when he threw it in pre qually at Silverstone so as to run first and avoid the rain.

      It was tweaked more then binned for elimination. The changes were all for improving the show, not slowing Schuey down in my memory. I may be shown to be incorrect.

      1. @gongtong, it wasn’t just Schumacher – multiple drivers on the grid later admitted they were also deliberately running wide or setting slow laps in an attempt to run early, and several teams, such as Williams, also publicly stated they’d deliberately told their drivers to run slow laps. It was the fact that most of the grid were trying similar tactics that led to action from the FIA, not just specifically Schumacher.

        About the only driver from a major team that wasn’t trying to do that was Button, as BAR realised that the rain was moving away from the circuit – it meant he was one of the few drivers who did put in a representative time, and the irony was that the qualifying session wasn’t rain effected, so the tactics that the likes of Ferrari and Williams were trying to do actually backfired slightly on them.

  45. Just one thing that doesn’t seem to be a consideration … Safety.
    Imagine a reverse grid start at Spa or Monaco. Half the cars will likely be out before the first lap is over.
    Then, how many starting for the Pit Lane for the main race.?
    Once a few of the teams start paying out half a million at events for repairs, the drivers will be forced to back-off, which they generally don’t like to do.
    This is definitely a March 32nd idea and that is where it should be.

    1. I’ll add to that.

      Reverse grid races that force drivers to execute overtakes to get a reasonable starting event are notorious for mistakes that lead to collisions which in turn lead to safety cars.

      Safety cars and bunching fields up lead to more crashes and repeat safety cars

      Personally I just love watching lap after lap of safety cars (not) so please lest just say no before we end up with countless ad breaks and very little racing.

  46. I feel that it is no matter about racing, but just showing sponsorship…

  47. If you want to artificially create a grid then add ballast for where you are in the championship. So in the current system Hamilton would carry 2 Kg more than Bottas and 40Kg more than Russell for example. Qualifying really doesn’t need messing with.

  48. Strongly against it. It’s outright anti-meritocratic to do a “reverse order” grid. F1 should never be anti-meritocratic. In an case, there is nothing wrong with the current qualifying format; its introduction in 2006 was one of the most positive rule changes to the sport in recent F1 history.

    1. @racer you make a good point. It really was a great improvement.

      The thing is as well, is it came from years of gradual changes. Ok elimination was quite a big leap compared to previous changes but nothing in comparison to this leap.

      1. Not to be too negative … but I expect that we the objecting fan base are doomed.
        The current plan is to trial this at 3 races and see the fan response. The reaction from the “new fan base” they are trying to win over will be nothing short of ecstasy. With overtaking at every corner, wings getting torn off and the fast cars getting blocked like there is no tomorrow, it will be a Wrestlmania made for TV event.
        Whether we watch it or not, “the new fan base” will love it.
        If we do watch it, Liberty will be even happier. It is only 3 test events, and as such, everyone will tune in to see either a spectacle or a spectacular failure. Either way, Liberty will say … “See, told you it would work”.
        We’re doomed.

  49. No, no and er what are the words I’m looking for….hell no.

    You cannot have a (random) reverse grid and also have cars that even in 2021 with not be able to follow closely or overtake without a mile long straight and DRS.

    The starts will be chaos and IF a random grid is known to be the next race, then you might have a situation where be drivers are organising their final position to get a better position for the next race. Just ask the WRC about driving slowly to get a better position for the next stage.

    Having a reverse grid will nothing for the competition or help struggling teams. Until you have a more level playing field (every race), be it more similar cars, budget, or what, it’s not going to anything good for F1.

    No, just keep qualifying as is, but drop the stupid start with your Q2 tyres. Just balls out laps from Q1-3.

    1. I’m not sure if you understood or not (it sounds like not). @invisiblekid

      There’s no random grid. Saturday’s race starts with reversed championship order.

      That’s then the only reverse grid. The outcome of that race determines Sunday’s grid.

      Unless it’s ME that didn’t get it when I read the article. I’ve seen so many comments from people that I think didn’t understand that I’m starting to wonder if I didn’t read it properly.

      1. OH right’o, Yeah I miss-read. Well I knew it was reversed, but mis-read how. The random part was this “feature” was going to happen randomly. So we were both right and wrong.

        Either way, its not going to help F1. A race on Saturday with a reverse start on Sunday just seems it’ll cost more. Then all the strategy work means the teams with less manpower, computers etc are still going to suffer.

        A low team isn’t going to win with this system. If F1 wants more teams to win, it’s very obvious how to make that happen. It’s time to show a middle finger to Mercedes and Ferrari.

        1. @invisiblekid

          A race on Saturday with a reverse start on Sunday just seems it’ll cost more.

          It is a Qualifying reverse grid race on Saturday the results of which determine the grid for a ‘normal’ race on Sunday.

  50. Dumbest idea ever. Just draw lots for position if you don’t want qualifying.
    We already saw a race this year where teams didn’t run in Q3 because they were “positioning” for the tow. In reverse grid whatever, teams will be sandbagging for positions and the whole thing will be terrible to watch.
    Maybe the pit crews can race with their drivers in rickshaws? Once around the circuit. That would be a bit more entertaining. You would need to have pit crews that can run fast and be able to quickly change a tire. Truly a team event.

    1. @jimfromus that’s it. I’m re-reading the article…

      1. Good to know I’m not going mad.

        “Instead a short race will be held on Saturday with drivers starting in reverse championship order. The result will be used to set the grid order for Sunday’s grand prix.”

        It’s explained quite concisely.

        Sandbagging will only work if you deliberately give up places in the WDC! And even that will only get you a better grid position for SATURDAY.

        1. Might as well just set it for Sunday. It’s a short race and the best driver is last. He can either kill his car and tires to get to middle of pack or just cruise around and save the car and tires and let the others kill their cars on Saturday. On Sunday, with a fresh car, tires, and a longer race there is a better chance to place higher. Best teams will not be running all out on Saturday from the back.

          1. @jimfromus They would not be using the same set of tyres for both races.

  51. I think @stefmeister made a good point about how to measure the success of these experiments in the discussions in the earlier news article. What would be a succesful test and what would be a failure? That made me doubt my earlier opinion that why not just try it and see if it works. If you do it at singapore, paul ricard and sochi then what do you have to lose. And I still think nothing of value would be lost in short term. But what about the long term implications?

    It is pretty much given that reverse grid races will be more exciting but in what way? We already have a drs which allowed f1 to drag it heels when it should have been much more active trying to fix the overtaking issue. Instead drs allowed f1 to go the opposite direction in 2017 by making it even harder to overtake. After all they had drs which they can tweak to manipulate overtaking and focus purely on quantity over quality.

    I think these tests are sort of harmless but their eventual consequence is always going to be addition of more of the same kind of gimmicky stuff because it works and adds a lot of meaningless short term exciting stuff. Even if merc overtakes 19 cars on its way to a win is it really more exciting than winning it from 2nd place if all the passes are drs and the performance differences between the teams are the same as now? No. But it does increase all the numbers liberty cares about. More passes, more lead changes and more cars driving into others. Quantity, not quality.

    So I think it would also hurt f1 as a sport as it would give f1 yet another crutch like drs so it can continue to ignore the actual issues. After all the issues these new qualifying formats are trying to solve are issues that should be solved by making the cars different by changing the technical rules. Less downforce so the cars have less dirty air. Less weight so the tires last longer and the cars are harder to drive. And get rid of drs because the cars can then overtake without gimmicks. If the only way to solve overtaking issue is by forcing the fastest cars to start from the back the issue is not solved. It is just hidden away.

    I’ve changed my mind about these tests for next year. I think in long term these qualifying races and reverse grids would be awful for f1.

    1. The really scary part is how would Liberty assess whether it was a good change or not?

      One of their “slanted” Fan Voice surveys?

    2. @socksolid Please show us where it is that Liberty have claimed to want more passes, more lead changes, and more cars driving into others? Quantity vs quality? They are trying to make it a driver’s series with cars racing closer without drs if at all possible. I fail to see how that diminishes quality.

  52. Altough this would solve the problem of never having some flat out racing, not caring about tire and fuel preservation, which would be great to see, I still disagree on making this the result of some gimmick like reverse grid or altering the qualy format; this would have both. And don’t get me started on having different rules for different races which are part of the same championship and delivering the same championship points, which is among the most anti-sport expedients conceivable.

  53. For anyone saying you shouldn’t mess with a few races as it isn’t consistent with the others (and rightly so), don’t have to go back very far to remember the ‘double points’ race. That was a disgrace

  54. I recall some time back Sebastian Vettel, who’s WDC points were slightly more than Lewis Hamilton’s, crashed into Max Verstappen while trying to overtake him at the start of a race. When interviewed Max said something like “Why would you risk crashing out of a race when your leading the championship by 4 points?”. The same applies here: There will be times when those leading the Championship Table just won’t see the point in trying to overtake the car in front because there’s no points in it, and a crash could result in them not competing in the race because of injury.
    The simple fact is the TV commentators explain how Qualifying works for those who don’t know, and the format is simple enough.
    As I’ve said before, I think there are too many cars on the track during Q1, and that to reduce the number of cars in that session you promote some cars straight to Q2 and to Q3, e.g. First 5 at the previous race go straight to Q3, Second 5 at the previous race go straight to Q2, meaning there are just 10 cars on the track at each Qualifying session. When there’s no previous race, as happens at the start of each year, then promotion could be based upon fastest Final Practice times.

  55. I think it’s a great idea to have for the races where the draft effect is too dramatic in qualifying. I think it adds a bit of spice to the race and it’s not gimmicky. These kinds of races have been done with sprint cars across the US for years and works well, and if it’s used at a track where it’s possible to pass, you’ll have an exciting Saturday and Sunday.

    I don’t think grid penalties will make any difference with this format than the current one. As I’m understanding it, they set qualifying in reverse championship order, race a short qualifying race then start the race as they finished, right?

  56. It makes more sense than a driver dropping out of qualifying every minute, the fast cars WILL make their way forward during the reverse race, but it will lead to some strange grids and therefore unpredictable Sundays. Sure it isn’t pure and it sure wouldn’t work at every circuit. But if they are spread correctly through the season and at circuits that encourage overtaking I think it could lead to excitement.

    It clearly isn’t pure, but if experiments don’t take place, you cannot know whether it works or not.

  57. That’s a great idea. But for the pinnacle of motorsport it’s a big no no. Yeah it is all fun and exciting but way too artifical for F1

  58. This experiment will only make things worse for the smaller teams. They have enough trouble getting enough parts to the races as is. If you have another sprint race on Saturday there will be more carnage with faster cars coming through, more damage more cost. Sponsors will not be happy if one of the lower ranked cars cannot race on Sunday.
    Are the FIA going to allow a team who has a grid penalty to forgo that penalty, if they claim that they would have been alright if they had not had not completed the sprint races earlier?
    This will impact on the championship unless, the FIA let the teams have extra power units. The strain on the PU’s for the sprint will be quite telling, especially running in traffic.
    They haven’t really thought this through.

  59. Instead of saving 1-2 set of tyres and 20-30 per liters of fuel per race in the name of being environment friendly, admire that F1 is about monster machines, not about coasting into turns. Force cost cap, force cheaper technologies, and designs, while not being so restrictive on relatively cheap assets like fuel and tyres.
    And the qualifying format is very good now.

  60. Can’t believe this is seriously being contemplated. Just like the Monza fiasco this year big teams will just find a way round it. In fact I can easily see a situation where Merc/Ferrari/RBR qualify on pole, introduce new power unit elements, get demoted to the back of the grid- rinse and repeat for 20 odd races during the season. Qualifying became a bit ridiculous a few years back with the fragile Pirellis, but now that they aren’t so ridiculously fragile we are seeing the fastest guys slugging it out in Q3. If anything, at some race weekends qualy is more exciting than the race so please Liberty, leave qualy alone- qualy knows what it’s doing.

    1. @blazzz Engine penalties would be applied before the Sunday race as currently so they would still have the same effect as now.

  61. F1 needs good racing, not gimmicks.

  62. And we though Bernie had crazy ideas…

    I think they need to define if they want a sport/competition or a show.

  63. I don’t like to see F1 drivers being punished for performing well.

    And that’s the core of my disagreement. That’s not a championship, that’s a charity.

  64. If Wimmo the clown starts at the front all the time then I will be all for reverse grid racing

  65. Try it in a P2 session so it can’t impact the championship? The potential to ruin the entire seasons results seems like too big of a risk. It would not go down well with fans.

  66. James Goulding
    7th October 2019, 10:04

    Here’s a job for, say, William Beeson: how (mathematically speaking) to make reverse grid system as fair as possible, for different definitions of fair.

    I name my opponent: Liam Beeson.

    This is the gist of what I am describing. I have two pHDs already when I didnt oight to have needed one in the forst place

  67. My proposal is that they should run qualifying just as it is now, but the pole-winner is given their little Pirelli trophy tyre stood in front of a wheel of fortune device. The segments are labelled normal and reverse grid, in varying proportions according to the track – so the worst few tracks for passing have reverse segments at about one in ten, while most tracks would be no more than one in four. They then have to make the spin to find out if they have just wasted their efforts over the last hour.

  68. Trying something new harms no one. After all, if you don’t try you don’t know. Give it a go, see what comes of it. But don’t reject an idea off-hand merely because it goes against a long-standing tradition. There is no such thing as a bad idea until it has been tried and tested and proven so.

    1. On the contrary there is likely to be considerable harm! It will look like an old Formula Ford beginners race.

  69. No no no, it is fine as it is!

  70. Teams agree? Just wait until they have to pay for all the damage that reverse grids are going to cause.
    Only a moron would even consider reverse grids without a rolling start.

  71. I like the idea of a reverse grid sprint, but I also like qualifying as it is. I think we should have both, perhaps have the first race a qualifying and then second race a reverse grid and then alternate them each weekend.

    1. also think it would be a good idea to have the reverse grid sprint do a rolling start and not a standing start.

      1. Shusssh! Somebody will take you seriously.

  72. Trialing ideas such as this at a championship event is a horrendously bad idea. If they wanted to do this they’d have to make the teams aware of which races it would take place at and there’d then be a lot of games playing in the build up to it to gain an advantage.

  73. I don’t think it will work, especially on narrow tracks where is it impossible to pass. However, I wouldn’t mind them trying it for a couple of races to see how it works in the real world.

    A concern is the increased cost of parts due to drivers pushing hard for a few laps and either wrecking each other or into walls.

  74. One reason drivers won’t like it is because they will find out that they are not as good a driver as they think they are, they are just winning because they have a better car. If you put any of the back marker drivers in a Mercedes, they will probably do well too, or put Hamilton in Williams car and see how good a driver he is.

  75. If they have to trial attempt this at all, they should look to W series, who used a non-championship event to trial an idea such as this. I would not appreciate different sets of rules to apply to different championship events in 2020.

    For me, there would be no reason to switch away from the 3-segment qualifying format we still have at the moment. No one can really want to open the can of worms of having manufacturer-aligned customer teams on the grid, who will selectively defend Magnussen-style against drivers of an opposite manufacturer team trying to push up the order in a reverse-grid race, only to gallantly move to the side when one of their associated works drivers is coming up behind them.

  76. As interesting as a sprint race may be in itself, the glaring and obvious problem of having a multi-car race to determine grid positioning is that it opens up the very real and likely possibility that any in-race contact between the cars will affect the outcome of the grid lineup! Imagine the controversies that would arise if there’s a contact that affects the outcome: who was at fault, how much to we penalize the offender or promote the position of the victim. A titanic MESS!

    The single car timed lap is a a simple and clear opportunity for drivers to demonstrate their skill and reap the benefits.

  77. Not in every race. How about at Monaco? -) I think a variety of things should be attempted, not just a blanket solution. How about a handicap system where teams are awarded a score based on its racing budget (the lower the budget the higher the multiplier) and it’s place on the grid is based on it’s quali result and that number???? We might see budget caps arriving soon enough.

  78. No, they should fix their problems and stop with the bandaids. With the current state of racing (or, more accurately, the lack of…), often qualifying is the race. So screwing with one of the best parts of the weekend, especially considering their track record with artificial competition enhancements, is a moronic endeavor at best. Right up there with DRS, forcing tire pit stops, etc. What’s next, fan boost?

  79. FiA want to have a budget cap. Fine. But as many accidents were happened during the very beginning of the race, then you hold a minirace. I see a big conflict between those two thing.

  80. I’m not sure if I can put into words how much I disagree with this idea. Keith has summed it up particularly well. After years and years of 2 qualifying sessions on 2 days, hour long sessions where none of the front runners went out for 45 minutes, to all that weird stuff in the noughties, we have finally arrived at a format which is exciting, lets us see lots of cars from teams up and down the grid in action and seems reasonably fair. Keith is quite right in that quali is a different discipline to racing and is all the better for it.

    There is an inherent flaw in racing in that teams will always refine and make more efficient their packages until the differences between them are tiny as they find the optimum way to run a race. This makes overtaking hard but rewarding. I don’t think more races are the answer. Please don’t take our quali away.

  81. Pretty sure it used to create chaos in the touring cars. Worth testing otherwise we’ll never know for sure. Might even lead on to something better.

    I always preferred to watch all of the drivers on their hot laps and think the current format is a bit frenetic. Would rather a 10 ten shoot out for Q3. One lap one chance.

    1. Top 10 shoot out

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