Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019

Mexican Grand Prix race date “remains firm”

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In the round-up: The promoters of the Mexican Grand Prix expect their race will be able to go ahead as planned.

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Comment of the day

The reverse grid qualifying race plan has been shelved, but it would have changed little when the field is so uncompetitive, says Gusmaia:

As I said before, reverse grids are useless or pointless by the same reason: top three team are one to two seconds per lap compare to the rest of the field. Then in 10-12 laps, a Mercedes/Ferrari/Red Bull that started 17th will be at a podium position if not leading the race. So, either top team are not one to two sec ahead and the field will balance itself, or top team keep this lead and nothing will change, besides some irrelevant confusion on the midfield and the illusion of competition.

Beyond that, and not the main reason to be against the reverse grid, there will be a massive incentive retirement on the first race in order to get a better position on the reverse grid. Lets say a McLaren/Renault had a contact on the first corner, loses the front wing, puncture a tire, damages the car floor and is 30 seconds behind at the second lap. On current regulation, the car will be sent back to fight for a ninth, 10th. With reverse grid, it seems almost reasonable to retire the car, get a pole next race with a fully fixed car. I sincerely fear that by the third lap of the first race the front rows on the reverse grid were already known.

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14 comments on “Mexican Grand Prix race date “remains firm””

  1. I think COTD missed the fine print regarding reverse grid races. The idea was to hold a Saturday race with reverse championship position dictating the grid. There would be no incentive to tank your championship position.

    Then the finishing order of that first race, which as you say would likely see the top 3 teams charge to the front, would determine the order for Sunday’s race. The first race is simply an alternate qualifying session, but in race format.

    I’m not for it in principle, F1 should not be diluted with gimmicks like this. But in such a disrupted season and with the current monopoly on the podium places by the same teams week in week out, I would happily see this attempted a couple of times in 2020.

    1. Good grief ! that sounds almost sensible, maybe I should read beyond the headlines. Actually it might almost make qualifying more exciting than the race itself, that is until drivers of “B” teams habitually make contact with drivers from the opposing “A” teams as they try to pass. Every gimmick is a disaster waiting to happen.

    2. @aussierod I think they were referring to the 1st race in Austria which been the first round of the season is what a reverse grid qualifying race for Austria 2 would have been based on.

      In that case there would be an incentive for a top car that hit trouble to fall back as if there outside the points anyway it won’t affect there championship at that point but will benefit them a week later.

      A few rounds in maybe they will be less likely to do this, But for the 1st race of the year they almost certainty would.

      1. I doubt the plan would be to do reverse grid at the first race @gt-racer. They were suggesting it for a couple of races during the season hence I would think the first would logically be a few races in. The scenario outlined by the COTD is not relevant to what’s actually been proposed.

        @hohum not sure if you’re referring to deliberate contact from a B team to benefit their big brother A team, which would be a scandal of similar controversy to Singapore ’08 in my view and highly unlikely. Or if you are simply referring to A teams getting mixed up in the regular mid-field chaos, which is, well, racing! Everyone else has to deal with it week in week out.

        1. @aussierod, I purposely left it open to interpretation because that is how the stewards would have to deal with it, I would suggest it would be more like M. Schumacher not seeing D.Hill about to pass.

        2. @aussierod all the reports indicate that Liberty Media wanted to introduce this for the second race in Austria, so they’re trying to introduce it at the very first opportunity that they can.

        3. Well, @aussierod, the plans they had explicitly mentioned both the second Austrian race AND the second Silverstone race.

      2. @gt-racer – It wouldn’t just be top teams either I guess. Where would the incentive be for Williams to complete the first Austrian race? They probably wouldn’t finish anywhere near the points or get a lot of TV exposure anyway, so peel off into the pitlane at the end of the first lap, retire both cars and lockout the front row of the qualifying race for R2. Guaranteed TV exposure and a shot at a better result.

        I’m glad it’s not going ahead. Personally I think qualifying should be qualifying and the race should be the race. They each have their own place. In qualifying we get to see the cars on the raw limit, with low fuel, soft tyres and on the edge of adhesion. The race is more about wheel-to-wheel combat, fuel and tyre management, strategy and endurance. Different cars, different teams, and different drivers all have different sets of skills. Some are better qualifiers, others are better racers. By turning qualifying into a race, it takes away a big part of the product. A bit like going into Pizza Hut and finding out they’ve replaced all the starters with mini pizzas: they’re great, but I’m already having pizza for the main course so I want something different for the starter!

  2. There seems to be a bit of a fallacy that the top cars just cruise up behind the slower teams and cruise by and that in reverse grid qualifying that will continue to be the case.

    It happens in races because midfield runners are instructed to not let a faster car disrupt their rhythm and to pet them through to protect their position from slower cars behind them.

    In a qualifying scenario, the midfield runners will have slower (very marginally) cars in front of them and will have to be focusing on getting past them and also blocking the faster cars behind them to gain their best possible grid position.

    The defending process will have to be far more aggressive as will the attacking.

    It won’t be like it is in a race. Far from it, it’ll just be a mess designed to cause damage.

    I am so glad that at least 2 teams are sensible enough to block this stupid idea – I’m hoping it’ll now get buried but given that it’s been revived again so soon after the last block, it’ll be back on the agenda soon I expect.

  3. But holding the race at all this year mightn’t necessarily be entirely up to them, so good to acknowledge that. Very unrealistic to hold it with, for example, the Foro Sol fully packed. Most likely, every single race taking place this year would have to happen without spectators in attendance, also the ones late in the year.
    I have very low hopes for the US and Brazil. Mexico might be able to pull it off.

    1. One would think that the Drivers Association might have some objections to going to the US, Mexico or Brazil if they don’t get to a point of showing some measure of control over the virus.

      Certainly you’d be expecting them to be keeping a very close eye on those countries and to be very vocal if they’re not convinced it’s safe.

  4. Not accepting the new rules probably would have killed several other teams and maybe F1 itself but still, I was very surprised that even Ferrari agreed to them. And I was just thinking that I can’t imagine that they would have accepted these terms under any previous leader but Binotto, can anyone else?

  5. A few months ago Ross Brawn did indicate that they might want to experiment with qualifying/race format at some stage in the future. So my view was that this strange race calendar we have presented the ideal opportunity to try something different as it was just for 2 races? At least there is a semi-decent excuse for doing it in these circumstances.

    If they had decided to go down this route and it did not work very well, then at least everyone would see the evidence of this. Reverse grids might then be easily ruled out as an idea ever to be considered again.

    So I think this is a missed opportunity for F1 really. Not to say that I think they really need to change the qualifying format.

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