F1 grid, Silverstone, 2019

F1 shelves reverse-grid qualifying race plan again

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1 has again been forced to abandon plans to introduce reverse-grid qualifying races due to a lack of unanimous support from teams.

The proposal would have seen qualifying sessions at some events replaced by half-hour races, starting with drivers in reverse championship order, in order to decide the grid for Sunday’s grand prix.

However, as RaceFans reported yesterday, Mercedes and Racing Point did not support the proposal, which would have been introduced for the two extra races begin held at the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone, respectively called the Steiermark Grand Prix and 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

Today Formula 1 CEO and chairman Chase Carey admitted the plan would not be introduced in an interview on the sport’s official website. “We’ve talked about a couple in the coronavirus context of these two races,” he said. “At this point we’ve had one that’s been publicised about a reverse grid that not all teams were comfortable with and making changes in this short timeframe requires unanimity of support.”

F1 tried to introduce the same rules last year, when it also failed to gain the support of teams.

Carey said he views the disruption caused by the pandemic as an opportunity to vary the race weekend format, but stressed he does not want to introduce “gimmicks” to the sport.

“We’re changing almost real time inside the season, but we’ll continue to look at ideas,” he said. “We want to make sure they’re not gimmicks.

“It’s a great sport with great history, great heroes, great stars, incredibly talented drivers and other individuals so we want to respect everything to a degree but we want to make sure that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t look at ways to make some changes.

“To some degree, this season being unique gives a little bit more opportunity to try something that I don’t think we would do unless we thought it was a real possibility to add something to the race. But I think we’ll continue [talks] but it won’t be unique to this. I think we always want to be challenging ourselves and [looking at whether] there other things we can do to make the sport better.”

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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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38 comments on “F1 shelves reverse-grid qualifying race plan again”

  1. I would say “Hurray!”, but I know the success is only temporary.
    F1’s inglorious leaders will return to this again once they get rid of requirement to have anyone’s support.

    1. Antony Obrien
      3rd June 2020, 9:47

      …For Mercedes. A lot of stick in the muds in F1, fans and team owners. Its a shame we cant try something different in this of all seasons.

      1. If they had made this a non-championship season, then fine try some things out… but they didn’t.

        It’s a terrible idea anyway, F1 is better than these cheap gimmicks. The best way to improve the racing is to have a closer grid and fairer distribution of wealth, not with short term fixes like this.

  2. You know something that would surely mix things up?
    One-shot quali.
    It was removed because fans on the track got to see very little on track action, but for TV it was brilliant. You got to see each driver going at it, and you wouldn’t miss anything. And drivers would have to be on it. A small mistake and you are gone
    Even a hybrid format like Supercars does would be brilliant. They hold a normal 30 minute quali session, and then the top 10 have the shootout. And it’s brilliant, just search some of the Bathurst shootouts over the years. Must watch stuff

    1. @ofitus21 Changes in conditions just made it so unsportmanlike. If you have a late slot for quali and it starts to rain in the middle of quali there’s nothing you can do.

      That’s why I’m happy to see it gone.

      1. That is true, rain could result in very unfair results, like Japan 2005 for example.
        I don’t know, every time Bathurst comes around I adore the quali format and the top 10 shootout. But it is true it can be unfair if it rains

        1. But then look what happened in the race at Suzuka 2005 – it turned out to be the best race of the modern era and the quickest cars still ended up at the front of the pack.

    2. COTD right there! I loved one lap qualifying! Jarno Trulli was such a genius at it.

      It really demanded guts as well as speed, with differing degrees of gutsy gambling leading to a mixed up grid in a completely fair and gimmick-free way. (Formula E has a variant on single lap qualifying, which helps it consistently produce both excellent qualifying and racing, though I preferred it when the groups were more fairly randomised). Wierdly, F1 fans often defend its qualifying format as not needing changing, but FE and I see Supercars show better approaches.

      This year’s races are a great opportunity for F1 to try it out again, as there are no fans at the track getting frustrated by the limited running.

    3. @ofitus21

      It was removed because fans on the track got to see very little on track action, but for TV it was brilliant.

      I thought it was just as horrendously dull to watch on TV as it was at the track.

      There was no excitement or tension behind it, It never built up so that the final moments were exciting as the qualifying formats before/after did. With the way it was you knew before the end of the lap what the results were, At least with the before/after formats you get a number of cars crossing the line in the final seconds to potentially change things.

      I hated the one lap format & wouldn’t watch it if it was brought back, Horribly boring & unfair.

    4. I would love to see shorter qualifying, with maybe two sessions of 7 minutes each (top 10 proceed). It gives everybody the same opportunity with little room for error (although enough room that if you get held up, you can have an extra go).

      Alternatively, change the grid layout. Try rows of 3 or staggered rows – both of which could place the rows closer together

    5. I second that

    6. Do you know how expensive a Saterday (normal) raceday is for fans. paying €110 euro for 30 minutes (excl. the rest) is not done.

    7. Yeah it was brilliant. It made it really easy to tune only in for those few minutes of qualifying that matttered and wholly ignore the rest. Much like most TV stations did, since hardly anyone watched it.

      But it was extra fun for the times when wheather interrupted to make it unfair to some who happened to be ordained to do a lap when the track was wet. Or super dusty etc @ofitus21

      No please. The current format, which took years to arrive at, is probably the best one I’ve seen since I started watching in 1993.

      1. The current format, which took years to arrive at, is probably the best one I’ve seen since I started watching in 1993.

        This. Any change that means went don’t get the current Q1/2/3 format is going to have to be really good to get my vote. Some weekends qualifying is the most exciting part. Maybe with the new rule set for cars running a second race for qualifying might work … but with the current cars I just don’t see it.

  3. Agreed. Go play Crash Bandicoot if you want gimmicky, farcical racing.
    This is the top level of open wheel motor sport, not a birthday karting session.

  4. Predictable. Nothing that would improve F1 ever makes it into reality.

    So we’re still stuck with that borefest of a Saturday, with the worst gimmicky Q-format F1 ever had.

    1. Reverse grids are a stupid gimmick, certainly not worthy of Formula One. Only Claire Williams would be in favour, and even she couldn’t make that bad a decision.

      1. On the contrary, look at the statements being made by Loud Mouths at helm of Red Bull Racing. They are really pushing hard for this nonsense.

        1. The indication is that only one loudmouth, as you put it, was keen, with the other hating the idea.

        2. It’s time to bring out the link again:

  5. Graham (@guitargraham)
    2nd June 2020, 20:26

    in cost cutting times an idea that would have certainly led to more smashed carbon fibre was never a starter

    1. especially at the start of a 7 week run of 6 races @guitargraham!

  6. This are jokes… bring on the Sprinklers guys… old Berny knew what he was talking about.

    1. Unlike reverse grids, I actually quite liked the sprinkler idea. If the timing is randomly predetermined and the same (limited) information was available to everyone, why not?

      1. Yeah I never understood the outrage over the sprinkler idea. We all know changeable conditions make the best races. Yeah its artificial but so what? We have DRS I dont see the sprinkler idea being all that different.

        1. Exactly, they are both terrible ideas.

  7. Robert McKay
    2nd June 2020, 23:31

    I hope this not going through doesn’t mean they give up trying to find ways to make the second event in Austria or Britain or wherever more distinct. There must be other options that may be considered less gimmicky.

  8. You know what would shake things? If the drivers were to draw the car they drive from lucky dip each race. And their grid position was determined by their finishing position of the previous race.

  9. Shame. While I don’t think I would like this in practice, the already compromised nature of the 2020 season makes it ripe for experimentation.

  10. Good news.

  11. Meh. Mercedes are spoiling the fun.

    They know their car will be good in quail and bad at overtaking.

    Naturally reverse grids would be a disaster for them.

    1. So all the drivers who called the idea stupid are now in the pay of Mercedes? Verstappen, for example, has been very vocal about how he hates the idea as an absurd and artificial gimmick that he sees as ruining the sport and turning it into something more akin to the sort of contrived show you see in wrestling – is he wrong to complain so much?

  12. Can’t wait for the next bits. Fanboost is almost a certainty and Activation Zones.

    Maybe they’ll allow for drivers to throw bombs of oil out of their cars into the path of pursuing cars.

    And mushrooms, giant mushrooms that sprout up in the middle of the track at random times.

  13. The sole reason Mercedes are against this test is that they are afraid that their drivers will have to perform across a wider platform in order to lift the prize. They are protecting their patch at the expense of all the others who are willing to give it a go. It may be a bummer but then again it may just be what is needed to break up the stranglehold by Mercedes. If they had an ounce of true competitive spirit they would welcome all aspects in order to provide proof of their excellence.

  14. I’m generally a traditionalist and quite skeptical of the sprint race/reverse grid option. OTOH, this would be the ideal time to give it a try. We can speculate all we want but I can see ways that it might work and I would love to have seen them experiment – I’d like to see F1 take a few more creative risks. If it doesn’t work, then scrap it.

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