Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Monza, 2020

Vettel: Ferrari’s 2020 car is a “step forward” in some respects

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari’s 2020 car is an improvement in some respects, despite their poor performance.

What they say

Vettel was asked whether the team’s step backward with its power unit has exposed other weaknesses with its car design:

I think it’s a difficult one to answer. But obviously, the car year this is based on last year’s car. We tried to make a step forward, the biggest step possible. Obviously we find ourselves in a difficult position because we’re struggling with power this year and we’re struggling with the car and with overall this year.

As I said, it is obviously based on last year and it is a step forward from last year. We would all like the step to be bigger. But it is what we were able to do and we’ve obviously got the best of the situation as it is now.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Ross Brawn’s suggestion F1 could introduce reverse grid races continues to provoke a strong backlash:

I wonder how many fans will walk away if they do this. Paying fans forking out lots of money for sports channels to watch F1 while they try to bring in folk who are uninterested and probably wont bother paying to watch.

I didn’t like the CFD and wind tunnel time penalty rules as it penalises success but I could live with that. Reverse grid qualifying sprint races is a step too far and step towards becoming the BTCC.

I think for the integrity of the sport I have to personally take a stand and if this makes it into the rules I’ll be on the phone to Sky buying out my contract and telling them why.

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On this day in F1

Ayrton Senna, Gerhard Berger, Jean Alesi, Monza, 1990
Ayrton Senna, Gerhard Berger, Jean Alesi, Monza, 1990
  • 30 years ago today Ayrton Senna won the Italian Grand Prix ahead of Alain Prost, pulling 16 points ahead of his rival in the title fight

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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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73 comments on “Vettel: Ferrari’s 2020 car is a “step forward” in some respects”

  1. Let’s face it, if you take the time to comment on F1 websites you aren’t walking away from F1 regardless of what happens.

    I’ve had may gripes with F1 in recent years and I’ve felt my enthusiasm drain a lot with Mercedes continued domination. But let’s be honest, it’s still at F1 fanatic level.

    We all love to moan… But I don’t think many will actually stop watching/reading/commenting.

    1. GtisBetter (@)
      9th September 2020, 6:25

      I take time to comment, but will leave F1 if they introduce either sprint race qualifying or reverse grid. Plenty of other racing I still like. Of course nobody would notice as I won’t comment here anymore.

      1. I bet you’ll watch it out of curiosity and then continue to do so

        1. GtisBetter (@)
          9th September 2020, 9:38

          Nope. I watch to see the best drivers fight for a title. I have been following F1 for 30+ years and have seen my share of boring races and championships and great ones. There is no perfect race formula, there are always teams and people who are in a better position to get good results, but i really dislike penalties for performance. Like BOP, ballast etc if you perform well. I am not interested in an artificial show for the sake of entertainment first.

          1. Are you sure you know what exactly Ross Brawn is proposing? I have seen plenty of people who dont know that and still write negative posts.

      2. I’m almost supporting reverse qualifying grid to see how many people really walk away.
        Of all things I don’t see as fair in F1 it is not even the biggest issue; DRS as it stands today is more unfair IMO.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          9th September 2020, 11:47

          @coldfly – Most won’t leave. Some of the Lewis fans will leave if it means he’s not winning but he’ll retire soon anyway so they aren’t going to be around for long as it is and they’ll be more than replaced by other fans coming back to the sport who gave up because it’s boring.

          Those who have watched F1 for years won’t stop watching F1 because of it. The ones saying they will are the same who said they’d leave over the halo or the engines or Pirelli or DRS. They’ll be back.

          I’m personally not super-keen on the idea of reverse grids but it’d certainly be more interesting to watch than the usual 2nd lap “Look at the head Hamilton has got already” races.

    2. Couldn’t agree more @cduk_mugello

      It’s a classic purists vs free-thinker debate. Let’s not forget how many of us moaned during the switch from V10 to V8, introduction of DRS, V6 and its sounds. History is littered with such examples.

      Although it is open to debate and highly subjective, if introduced, people will enjoy the mix up and will eventually forget most of these arguments.

      1. I’m not sure of the audience numbers, but I and a lot of people I know don’t watch F2 as avidly as we did. And the general vibe I get from those who participate is that the reverse grid is a little bit of an embarrassment. Even the commentators and drivers look on the sprint race result as lesser. If the last F1 race was under this regime, Gaslys reward would have been 8th on the next grid, Hamilton rewarded with a front row start for his mistake, and Ocon rewarded with the pole spot because he was one who struggled the most of the top 8th. And we still wouldn’t get much overtaking.

        1. I noticed that this site is strongly against reverse grid. To the point that they refuse to explain to the readers how exactly reverse grid would work. I take it 30-50% percent think that reverse grid is based on either qualifying and drivers need to go as slow as possible or is a copy of F2 where the winner of race 1 would start from p8 in next race.
          Shame on editots of this site. All the polls about reverse grid that you do are meaningless because people were not informed what exactly they are woting for.

    3. I’m actually close to breaking point with mercedes dominance, for the first time I decided I wouldn’t watch the replay of this race if it had been the usual mercedes 1-2 procession, since I wasn’t awake to watch it live, so checked the highlights, first thing I read is gasly won, so stopped watching and then watched the full replay since it was an unusual race, but I’m prepared to skip any race where nothing particular happens, especially if it’s a mercedes 1-2.

    4. I’ve been watching this sport for 25 years now and everytime even the smallest hint of change is proposed or introduced, people come out of the woodworks and complain about the purity of the sport, or how they’ll stop watching when this or that happens. Even for the dumbest reasons like introducing the halo as a safety precaution. They never leave.

      I’m all for changes that increase the actual watchability of the sport, some of these changes might not work, but that doesn’t mean it’ll hurt to try them. If it doesn’t work, fine, you can always revert if need be. If it does work, everyone wins.

      Right now we had one fun race, in part due to red flag, in part due to one of the changes. The engine mode change absolutely made it harder for Merc and Lewis in particular to advance through the field. After qualifying all I read was people gloating about how the engine change had no effect. Even though it was never really going to be a change for qualifying, but rather one to impact the race and ability of certain teams (who happened to run Merc engines) to control said race by switching to high performance modes in crucial phases of the race.

      People need to understand that rules to get a more fun show aren’t going to keep Lewis from rolling up championships, but at least we hopefully get a more watchable show on the weekends.

      1. Do you really think the engine mode change made any difference to Mercedes performance? Lewis Hamilton was 30 seconds behind the car in last place and inside 30 laps he was up to p7 and about 15 seconds behind the winner, 10 more laps and he could have probably won the race. He was nearly 2 seconds a lap faster than every car on the grid. The only issue Mercedes had was overheating. In case you forgot Mercedes were nearly 1 second faster in qualifying and Hamilton was cruising to another win before the safety car. Also it isnt a show, no matter how much crofty, liberty media and ross brawn bang on about a “show”

    5. @cduk_mugello What you don’t notice is all the people who stop commenting on F1 websites.

    6. So right… I’ve been trying to quit for years now, but find myself postponing all types of interesting appointments to watch F1. I would be curious to watch those 3 races and see how the reverse grid actually affects the races overall, as well as the teams and the drivers standings compared to past years, before saying no to it. Maybe we can deduct based on what we see in other categories, but F1 is so unique that I think this too (reverse grids) would probably play out in a unique (and conceivable interesting and entertaining) way.

      1. *deduce.

        oh, that edit button…

    7. János Henkelmann
      9th September 2020, 13:07

      Haha, exactly my thought.

      I’m not a huge fan of reverse grid races but if it gives us exciting racing
      I will certainly get to grips with it.

      We all have been faithful to the sport we love during periods of
      dominance and boredom.

      Reverse grid races will change the sport but they can’t possibly make it more boring.

  2. Everyone saying they will stop watching if they do the reverse grid races will be glued to the TV for the first reverse grid race I’m sure.

    1. @joac21 I would watch the first reverse grid races and surely be entertained, but just like happened with Indycar (CART) and their endless SC periods to spice up the show, the sour taste would no doubt start to emerge and then I would naturally start to lose the appetite and finally totally put off and quit forever.

    2. @joac21 They stick around when F1 is at its most boring, but want to leave when there is something that will make the races more exciting (albeit artificially). I’m not really convinced by reverse grids, but I will continue to watch F1 even if it is introduced. As gimmicky as it may be, I’m not going to pretend like it’s worse than what we’ve had to endure with the Mercedes domination. But some fans seem to prefer the dull races, not sure why. Just go back to some of the comments on the 2012 season, and how the randomness of it made F1 less exciting.

      1. @mashiat people disliked the randomness of the 2012 season because it felt entirely arbitrary – drivers and teams had no idea why they were suddenly fast or slow and why their car was suddenly behaving in such an unpredictable way.

        It became a situation where it seemed that the skill and judgement of the drivers and the teams was worthless and it was down to blind guesswork and luck if you were going to be fast that weekend. It’s why people complained that it felt like a lottery – people don’t like the idea that the ability of the teams or drivers can be so utterly overwhelmed by random chance that they become worthless.

        Furthermore, there were a multiple instances where the actual racing itself in 2012 really was not that good – you might have had a different random person appear at the front, but quite a few times that driver might be miles down the road because nobody could get close to them (e.g. Rosberg winning by about 20 seconds in China).

        1. Yeah but I disagree that 2012 was random chance or a lottery, because without doing anything to change the rules the teams eventually managed to figure out how to use the tyres and get the most out of their car every weekend. By the second half of the season, the best teams were getting to the front consistently. It wasn’t some uncontrollable random factor, it was just an engineering challenge that the teams hadn’t solved yet. And even before it was ‘solved’, some teams and drivers managed it better than others.

        2. I don’t think the Rosberg example is particularly relevant. The only reason he finished 20 seconds in front is that Jenson Button had a slow pitstop and was stuck behind Vettel (who was 2-stopping and had worn tyres) for basically the remainder of the race. Otherwise, it would have been a close finish between the two. Also, I don’t necessarily buy the “whole thing was random” argument. The cars were close on performance, and obviously different cars have different strengths, so it would vary circuit to circuit. For example, the Sauber was very quick on high-speed tracks, hence it was competitive in Malaysia, Canada, Hockenheim, Monza, Suzuka etc. The Mercedes had the double-DRS and a good car in slow-speed corners, hence it was competitive a lot of the time in qualifying, but struggled with rear tyre wear in the races. Which explains why China was their most competitive weekend, since it is a front-limited circuit. The Williams was good in high temperatures and high-downforce trim, such as in Spain, Singapore, Abu Dhabi etc. I just think that it appeared random because we didn’t have many test cases to develop strengths and weaknesses for each car, but looking back, it really was not as random as it may have seemed at the time.

  3. If the 2020 Ferrari is an improvement on the 2019, one has to wonder just how much unauthorised power the Ferrari engine was producing, it must have been massive.
    Regarding the missing horsepower I was wondering if the trick, that Ferrari need to keep under wraps for commercial development, may be generating and using more electricity (mguT) than allowed, rather than burning more fuel than allowed, but the amount of power lost makes me wonder if that was possible.

    1. Vettel might be talking about car stability – he seems to be facing the wrong way less often this year.

      1. Perfect!

  4. Reverse grids are an awful idea.
    I have a better idea – just make the Mercedes and Verstappen do another lap!

    1. @slotopen It’s ironic, but all the headscratching and outlandish ideas to produce more watchable races are all moot with Mercedes gone.

      1. Interestingly Mercedes has gained such an advantage (kudos) that they can set their car up for clean air. Last week showed that they struggle as well in dirty air; maybe even more than others.
        What a reverse qualifying grid would do is take that unique advantage away from Mercedes as they have to give up some clean air speed to get more stability and cooling in dirty air.

      2. So just Max out in front then?
        The greatest racing minds in the world wont put a set of regulations in to aid overtaking, the greatest engineers in the world wont build a car capable of overtaking; and the fans response is ‘yea, that seems alright then, can we have a lottery instead?’

        1. @riptide But they have done so for 2022. It is everything Liberty and Brawn have worked towards since the day they officially took over. I don’t think there will be a need for reverse grid quali races with the new gen cars that will only be minimally affected in dirty air. If they still feel the need to push this once the new cars are on track then that to me will not be a good sign. But even then, the top cars start at the back and end up easily in the top 10 if not the top 6 on Saturday, and come the race on Sunday they’re pretty much starting where they would have under normal qualifying. It’s not like on Sunday the top cars have to cut their way through the whole field.

          I’m not bothered that much about the concept of reverse grids when used on Saturday, as I think for the most part the order will end up the same, only it will have been a more exciting way to get to their grid spot. I’d be more bothered if they were starting the races themselves in reverse order. And I’d be bothered if they still feel the need to consider this from 2022 onward, as it shouldn’t be ‘necessary’ any longer to shake up the usual order, as cars able to race closely should take care of that, with hopefully 6 or 8 cars in with a shout per race. On paper of course as we are entering unprecedented territory with these new cars, but for me at a bare minimum, cars that will only lose 5% or 10%, even if it is 20% of their performance in dirty air, is a huge game changer to the sport.

  5. Better yet, give Mercedes and LH the WCC and WDC every year in Melbourne, show them the door, and get on the rest of the season with Formula 1.5

  6. Most threats to quit watching are as ridiculous as Ferraris threats to leave the sport. Childish really.

  7. Would I stop watching F1 if they did the reverse grid races?

    I can honestly say that I would skip any race weekend that featured one & if they did adopt it as a more permanent thing it would at the very least be the end of me been as super dedicated as I’ve been most my life. I’d still follow it but I wouldn’t follow as closely or watch every part of the weekend live as I currently do.

    And I would definitely cancel Sky. The fact I’m still as passionate about F1 as I am is the only reason I still pay for Sky. If F1 was to go a direction I was fundamentally against (As I am gimmicks like reverse grids) I’d see no reason to continue paying for something I already don’t really want to pay for to watch it.

    1. I’ll actually go a little further.

      I haven’t stopped completely, but this year, because of the absolute barrage of F1 (because they have been so desperate to fit as much in as possible), I have severely curtailed my watching.

      I used to watch every session in full as well as pre-qualy and pre-race – this year, I’ll maybe watch Qualy and the Race and haven’t even bothered with that for a couple. In Australia, Qualy and the Race are Ad free so I don’t get to see any advertising that sponsors are paying the TV broadcaster)

      If they bring in reverse grid qualifying – I’ll watch even less – I may not stop watching completely but I’ll be skipping those and if the continue to add more and more to the calendar I’ll cherry pick a race or two so ultimately their advertising exposure will be minuscule compared to what it was, say, last year.

      I suspect I won’t be the only one – what we don’t know is whether they’ll attract all of these “new” viewers they keep thinking will arrive if they spice up the show. Personally I think it’ll be a lot less than they think.

      1. I’ve pretty much been all in since 78 when Gilles’ entry into F1 brought television coverage of F1 to Canada. Before that I followed it through library books and my Dad’s Globe and Mail newspaper.

        Overwhelmingly I’m just grateful we even have F1, and I’ll continue to enjoy it’s history unfolding as time goes along, warts and all. I’m really stoked for the whole new unprecedented chapter too. I think it’s going to be great.

  8. That quote is a doozy. I think the children on the internet call that “simping”. On the one hand, Vettel’s professionalism representing the team in front of the cameras is admireable, on the other hand, it does feel like someone justifying an abusive relationship.

    1. @klon the article has the “step forward” in quotes but I guess the text “some respects” is the one that should be in quotes. The all part should be in quotes cause I guess it is ironic, like I can see Vettel doing the hand gesture when saying this with a smirk on his face…

  9. Bunch of leading questions …. Like the phony grid idea, maybe read these in reverse order the first time.
    1st Is S. Vettel enjoying himself or would he relish the idea of … getting out before the season ends.? If he got the early boot, how upset would he be.? Not too much me thinks.
    2nd If Ferrari had the chance would they want to get C. Sainz into a Red Suit earlier than 2021.? How about now.?
    3rd Would McLaren want to get D. Ricciardo on board as soon as possible.? Gets them a head start on 2021.
    4th And the key to make it all happen … just how keen is Renault (aka Alpine) to get Alonso back in their car and start scoring points.?
    5th And final … is this the sort of thing that only Bernie E. could scheme and execute.?

    Nah, ain’t gonna happen. too logical and too complex. But wouldn’t it be great.?

    1. I reckon mclaren would be keen to hold onto sainz for the remainder of the season. This is the first genuine chance in years they’ve had to break into the top 3. Seems pretty high risk to parachute in a new driver without proper testing even with the high calibre of Daniel Ricciardo. Having said that, I suppose Hulk showed it was possible at Silverstone.

    2. No chance, Mclaren are in a tight fight and need to have the driver the chassis that it was designed to fit around, a change in driver now would not be ideal.

  10. Are reverse grid races not just a glorified version of handicapping? It doesn’t feel very F1 to me and I quite like the current qualifying format. I wouldn’t say I’d stop watching if it was introduced. I certainly didn’t every other time the qualifying format was changed.

    1. @tommy-c – wholeheartedly agree with this, it wouldn’t stop me watching – none of the changes since the 70’s have stopped me following F1, so why would this.

      Also, I dont think there is any place for handicapping in F1 to be honest, makes it more and more about the show in my humble opinion.

      1. I completely agree that F1 is frightingly close to become a show and not a sport with this plan of reverse grid races. I don’t watch any shows anymore, but I did watch some shows when they appeared 10-15-20 years ago. I would watch at least the first reverse grid race, but I would never call it a sport anymore.

  11. F1 should really reconsider single lap qualifying. The current format is arguably a better spectacle (I disagree, but each to their own) but it does have a tendency to give us predictable grids week after week. With just one hot lap, any lockup could completely shift the tone of the whole weekend. And if there’s rain in the air, anything could happen. I mean, we’ll never see another race like Suzuka ‘05 under a multi-lap qualifying format.

    So that for me is the simplest solution. The fastest driver still starts on pole, so we still have a meritocracy, but then we have a far greater chance of the jumbled up grids that would give us a more exciting Sunday. Just avoid over complicating it like before, by avoiding race-fuelled runs and silly pre-qualifying to determine the running order, and we’d really have something good.

    1. I disagree. The one hot lap was mainly boring and most driver were keeping some margin because they had much more to loose than to gain. With the current system, each « Q » is interesting, Q1 put emphasis on small team, Q2 on the mid field team battle and in Q3 you can see the best car going flat out for it. And there are often some surprises.. Honestly, with such a domination from Mercedes, no fair system would really prevent them to take pole at almost every GP

      1. each « Q » is interesting


    2. @jackysteeg Honestly, I think single lap qualifying is more artificial than reverse grid races, because the drivers are competing against each other in different track conditions, sometimes dramatically so. If it rains either before or during the session, the drivers it affects have no chance of competing against the laps done on a fully dry track. The gaps could be 10-20 seconds or more, and there’s no point pushing for a really fast wet lap when you might only be competing for the bottom 3-4 places on the grid. This can end up in a ‘reverse grid’ situation, with the fastest cars at the back, but it would be in a pseudo random manner, where you could end up with one championship contender on pole, while his rival is P20.

      At least with reverse grids everyone knows what the rules are in advance, and can plan for it accordingly. The fastest cars may find it more difficult to win, but their direct rivals will be in a similar position so there is nothing inherently ‘unfair’ about the championship battles.

    3. @jackysteeg @keithedin already pointed it out, but I echo in that the single-lap format used from 2003 to 2005 wasn’t as ideal as it penalized certain drivers depending on the running order when the weather conditions weren’t stable throughout a given session. This present format that has been in place since 2006, gives essentially the same conditions for all, so fairer overall.

  12. Well there goes any chance of seeing Indycars back at Fontana again. I saw the penultimate race there in 2014 and it was a cracker despite being 37C at the 6pm start time in late August. And while I don’t particularly have any time for Nascar Cup races (they’re far, far too long) the single race at Fontana is usually one of the better ones.

    There’s little logic to this – there’s already 2x half mile tracks on the schedule & the land isn’t worth that much if they want to sell off part of the block (it might be an hour from LA but as a former steel mill it’s a brown field site that can’t be sold for housing and building a mall right now… not going to happen). There’s also no chance that Indycars will run on a half mile oval there.

    1. I can see your point with thinking it’s a bad idea but it’s also a good idea to me, all the good short tracks are in the South( Virginia and Tennessee) and short track racing brings out some of the best racing we see. I think it’s a huge gamble to convert the track but it may turn out to be a home run if it produces a good race. I’ll definitely miss the last 10 lap battles here though with the top guys riding the top.

  13. F1 should not pander to those who are afraid of change. If everyone resisted change like some F1 supporters we would still have a world running on slavery.

  14. Nobody hates F1 as much as F1 fans, something they have in common with the Star Wars crowd. Rather let your sport die than accept any changes, it’s ridiculous.

    Reverse grid races are no more artificial than the ever so praised qualifyings in which cars are artificially removed from the track in order to make life easier for the guys in the fastest cars. Yet, no one is crying about that.

    It’s never about the sport, it’s always about “but I don’t like it!”

    1. I think its more that the average F1 fan doesn’t pay much attention to those who run around like their hairs on fire shouting ‘we are all doomed!’ One of the first races I attended had 3 or 4 cars on the same lap at the end; and that wasn’t unusual for the time. 60 years later the sports still going strong.
      Maybe F1 should stop trying to attract fans with the attention span of a fruit fly.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        9th September 2020, 10:41

        “fans with the attention span of a fruit fly.” There’s no one left. 60 years ago no one internet-connected smartphones to pick up after 5 seconds.

  15. Success ballast would be far less of a gimmick and be forgotten about after a few races once the cars are all bunched up and racing.

    Reverse grids on the other hand will always seem a bit odd and forced.

    1. I disagree, I don’t take any race seriously which is based on success ballast.

      Quali race, shoot-out, lottery, or what have you is only a way to sort out the starting grid as they cannot start all lined up next to each other.

    2. János Henkelmann
      9th September 2020, 13:14

      And then your favorite driver wins a race because the guy who won the last race had to take some extra ballast on board?

      No, thanks!

    3. @coldfly I agree with you. Success should never be punished in any way.

  16. COD: the Sky commentators seem the propaganda channel for the Brawn proposal for reverse grids. At the last race Croft went crazy about the racing making him sure such a plan was necessary for ‘more exciting racing’.

    If reverse grids were the key to better racing we would only watch F2, but we watch F1 where such gimmicks are anathema. I’ve followed F1 on he ground, through cine film, poor TV and ‘suffered’ Murray Walker and there have been changes and some have had to be reversed, but the ‘show’ has been the skill, determination and talent of driver and team demonstrated without changing the race format with gimmicks and tricks to make ‘the show better and more exciting”. The race is the core, the heart of the sport.

    Any F1 race has excitement at the front or rear or middle field, from expectation of disaster, the uncertainty of success measured by the metrics of the possibilities for a particular car and driver, the upgrades sagas of failure and success. When I see a ‘boring’ race on TV it often does not show the parts of the field where close racing is taking place or demonstrate the difficulties drivers face and how they are overcoming them. And that is, at least partly, the problem with FOM TV allowing different directors from race to race and having bumptious and ignorant commentators like Croft. Even Brundle is beginning to sound like the old sailor on a sunny bench telling the kids how to fish.

    1. The way I see it, the qualifying and race formats have been changed dozens of times over the years, sometimes for the better, sometimes worse. Single lap qualifying, 1 hour qualifying, elimination qualifying, knockout qualifying, aggregate qualifying, qualifying on race fuel or with your race tyres, ban on changing tyres during the race, mandated tyre changes, safety cars, virtual safety cars, pit lane open or closed during safety cars, in-race refuelling, DRS, designed to degrade tyres – the list goes on.

      I honestly don’t see why reverse grid races should inspire such outrage and scorn compared to some of the above ideas. The rules will be the same for everyone, if done correctly you won’t be able to ‘game’ the system by tanking your previous results to start on pole (or doing so would be prohibitively damaging to your season) – all the front runners will have a similar situation to deal with and whoever does so the best will come out in front. Generally the fastest cars will still win, though occasionally you might be a surprise result where one of the top cars doesn’t win, whereas in recent years you need a miracle for any non-top team to even finish on the podium.

      I’m not against experimenting with a reverse grid format for a few races next year. Say three races, selected in the middle of the season so that tanking your championship position isn’t feasible. Short race on Saturday with the grid set in reverse championship order, which gives no championship points but sets the grid for the Grand Prix on Sunday. Maybe some of the more boring races where it isn’t impossible to overtake – say Russia for one – everyone hates that race anyway so what do we have to lose? If they produce exciting races, then they can consider keeping a few in each year, if it’s not exciting or a farce they can think about either tweaking it to fix the issues, or put the idea to rest entirely – either way they would have some data to base the decision on.

      I would never be in favour of making every race a reverse grid, because I think one lap pace and qualifying is a key part of F1, but I’m not against at least experimenting with the format to see if it could add something to the sport.

  17. The ridiculousness of wanting to see ‘the best driver win’ as an argument against reverse grids, despite knowing the current winner for the past few years has a car that’s nearly a second faster than everyone else.

    It has nothing to do with the best driver; at least not anymore. It’s who has the best machine, which team spends the most. Even if you believe Lewis Hamilton to be the best driver on the grid you could put him in a Williams and he’ll never see the top 10, let alone a pole or a championship.

  18. I think they should leave the current system of qualifying and ‘feature’ race broadly as is. But I’d quite like to see a reverse grid sprint race trialled, as an addition (not a replacement for qualifying). Perhaps the grid for the sprint race is based on reverse championship order after points from the latest feature race are applied. Moving to one 90 minute practice session, one 60 minute qualifying session, one 120 minute feature race and one 45-60 minute sprint race should be workable.

    Potential drawbacks include not being able to easily shorten the F1 weekend as has been proposed in the past, costs rising due to more racing (vs practice) and the potential for teams lower down the order to de-prioritise one race to target the other. How the grid is chosen and point allocation would be important considerations.

    The ‘purity’ argument is a valid one, but then you could also argue that drivers have to demonstrate their full range of skills over a weekend in order to do well. Setting up the car quickly. Ultimate speed in qualifying. Speed endurance in the main race. Ability to carve through the field in the sprint race.

    If the 2022 regulations really do make cars easier to follow each other, then it could make the case for this format even stronger.

  19. János Henkelmann
    9th September 2020, 13:15

    Seb saying the car is a step forward is BS.

    They were more than a second slower than last year in Spa.

    I am as devastated by the Ferrari (lack of) speed as everyone else
    but what’s the purpose of BS-ing people?

  20. In response to the COTD, I wouldn’t stop because of that. I’ve been watching and following F1 for 16 years, so firstly, it’d be easier said than done, but realistically, I’d still keep on even with the reverse-grid format despite being against it. The only thing that would get me to stop doing what I’ve been doing since 2004 would be if F1 literally as a series came to an end altogether, i.e., stopped happening forever if this makes sense.
    I’m against this idea, but if we had to have it even for a single event for trial purposes, a better way of doing it would be to have the reverse-grid for the 100% race, i.e., the full 305 km race rather than for a shorter-length race.
    For the qualifying-race, the order would be the same as the finishing order for the previous event’s race, and the grid order for the Sunday main race would be the reverse of the Saturday-race results.

  21. People will complain about the idea of reverse grid races and I am far from happy with the idea. However, if they are introduced I am sure I would still watch the race weekends involved. It might be useful to see how this works in practice and they may very well be quite entertaining. However the whole idea seems too artificial and contrived for the pinacle of motorsport. Surely if F1 can get the car designs right and enable the cars to race more closely there would no need for any of the wacky ideas now being proposed. Or any need for tyres that fall apart.

    I don’t really like the idea of there being different formats for different race weekends though. it seem inconsistent an unfair. Then I don’t like the idea of success being penalised.

    I think there still needs to be more thought given to other ideas first before we go to reverse grid races either for qualifying or not. Changes to qualifying perhaps giving the less fast teams more laps or later laps when the circuits are faster?

  22. Ferrari have moved forwards. This years is actually legal.

  23. Well as Mr comment of the day I have been reading all of your comments with great interest. For all of you who said that some folk threaten to stop watching but carry on you are exactly right. I’ve done that before when F1 moved to Sky and I ended up buying it. What I don’t like is tuning in to listen to Crofty (and now Brundle) bang on about Reverse Grid qualifying races. Sky are really pushing this and Ross Brawn is dancing to their tune.

    Maybe now im thinking a bit more rationally about it, and after sleeping on it, reverse grid quali races may not last forever and might be one of those failed experiments like elimination qualifying was (The one where they eliminated cars throughout Q1 instead of at the end if anyone remembers that). I actually didn’t mind the single lap qualifying too much but I thought they really nailed it with a perfect format when they came up with Q1,2,3.

    The big question is will I pay for Sky after this. My stomach turns at the thought of listening to them go on about how reverse grid quali races are such a good idea and if it goes through one of the best spectacles in F1 will be ruined as qualifying is the one chance to see the cars pushing to the max to get the fastest time.

    If I didn’t walk away from F1 would I watch reverse grid quali races? Absolutely not! Id be the grumpy one giving thumbs down to the quali race highlights on youtube as a form of protest and just tune in for the race highlights on C4. I suppose it depends on how bitter and twisted I want to be about it. Maybe I shouldn’t be as I bet Murray Walker will still be tuning in (wonder if he has Sky or watches C4?). Maybe he needs to give me a pep talk.

    @flig you said that F1 is so unique that I think this too (reverse grids) would probably play out in a unique (and conceivable interesting and entertaining) way. Thats a really good point and it might be worth sticking around to watch, but maybe on C4 instead of Sky as they really seem to know what the fans want and dont push for gimmicks.

  24. Would Ross Brawn have been enthusiastic for reverse grids in 2009? He should look in the mirror and ask himself that question. Or some reporter with a set of balls should ask him.

    1. He wouldnt be, i bet he would admit it.

      But now his job is to improve entertainment of the races.

  25. no one has a definitive answer and i imagine neither does Ross Brawn .
    i for one say less aero and narrower front tires as a start .
    lets test the skill set of the drivers only they can make it exciting .
    maybe aggragate or target horsepower so we dont have such a big disparity.

  26. Have reverse grid proponents considered that Mercedes may opt for the shrewd strategy of having one driver deliberately sandbag and the other going full power every Saturday, alternating driver strategy every race weekend to ensure that regardless of outcome, a Mercedes driver always gets the best opportunity to win both pole position AND the race, although not necessarily the same driver?

    It’s only a matter of time before these ostensibly ‘fair’ rule changes primarily targetted at penalizing one team obey the law of unintended consequences and backfire in their collective faces. Just ask Redbull.

  27. Maybe a naive question, but couldn’t F1 split the difference with reverse grid qualifying by meeting out more electric power depending on where on the grid you qualified?

    So if you’re in a Williams situation, and you have a poor car, you get a bit more electric power per lap. Everyone runs larger batteries to have the same potential total charge, but you let the slower teams deploy more.

    Yeah, like any balance of performance scenario it’d need to be heavily tuned, but given the lack of engine development, it feels like some sort of in-season performance balancing needs to happen.

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