Should Formula 1 break its 70-year-old qualifying tradition?

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Formula 1 is marking its 70th anniversary this year. But at the same time the sport is considering whether to make a significant break with its past next year.

Since the world championship began at Silverstone in 1950, the starting order for every one of the 1,027 races has been decided by a qualifying session to see who could lap the track quickest of all.

However for the 2021 F1 season the sport is considering whether to introduce reverse-grid sprint races at a limited number of rounds (a subject we have previously run a poll on). The starting order for these would be based on drivers’ championship positions, with the points leader at the back, one place behind their closest rival and so on.

If the plan goes ahead, Formula 1’s seven-decade tradition of holding qualifying sessions will be broken. Is this a break with the past something the sport should make, or avoid?

For

Qualifying is a fundamentally flawed way of creating good races. By lining the drivers up from fastest to slowest, it virtually guarantees we are unlikely to see exciting races. It’s time F1 changed the format.

The current qualifying format is also riddled with flaws. We see drivers missing the chance to set flying laps, such as when Esteban Ocon brought out the yellow flags at Mugello last week, or drivers getting in each others’ way trying to get slipstreams, as at Monza the week before.

Against

Qualifying has an appeal all of its own. The contest to see who can set the quickest individual flying lap has given us many exciting moments in the past. The reputation of arguably the greatest F1 driver of all, Ayrton Senna, would be diminished if we had never witnessed his extraordinary feats in qualifying.

While much needs to be done to improve the quality of racing, the planned technical changes for 2022 are expected to go a long way towards improving this. Making a needless break with tradition is not the answer.

I say

Qualifying is often one of the most exciting parts of a race weekend. As drivers have to spend so much of the races looking after their tyres, qualifying is virtually the only opportunity we get to see the cars being driven flat-out.

Over time, Formula 1 has had to sever many links to its past have been severed. This was often due to safety reasons, which is why drivers don’t wear open-face helmets or race on the Nurburgring Nordschleife any more. But dropping qualifying is no matter of necessity; for those who appreciate the sport for what it is and respect its history, this is sheer vandalism.

Since Liberty Media took over Formula 1 the sport’s bosses have been at pains to insist they understand the need to preserve the sport’s ‘DNA’. Getting rid of qualifying would prove this was nothing more than empty words, and that no element of the sport, however intrinsic to its identity, will not be sacrificed in the name of ‘improving the show’.



You say

Should Formula 1 hold a race without a qualifying session? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should Formula 1 hold a race without a qualifying session?

  • Strongly agree (10%)
  • Slightly agree (8%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (3%)
  • Slightly disagree (7%)
  • Strongly disagree (71%)
  • No opinion (0%)

Total Voters: 355

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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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  • 157 comments on “Should Formula 1 break its 70-year-old qualifying tradition?”

    1. Absolutely is the wrong idea. The ghosts of former drivers will haunt F1 forever if the nonsense of this discussion continues.
      Enough said.

      1. I don’t think you can say ‘enough said’ when you haven’t addressed any of the arguments can you?

        Everybody is missing the point anyway: if they have just a few reverse-grid races it’s handicapping. If they make ALL the races reverse grid then it all balances out and it’s not handicapping, it just changes the nature of the competition to one that puts more emphasis on overtaking.

        But obviously that’d be new and extremely scary and not how F1 always used to be.

        1. Yes, but what would they call this series? F1 is already taken.

          1. lol @riptide but where did qualifying come from, originally? It was a safety thing wasn’t it, as there had to be an order and fastest-first was the safest one, when there were alloy fuel tanks and spaceframes and all that. And no aero or hardly any so they got past easily too, and so in a lap or two they were spaced out in order and someone used to win by like a minute, and when there was a duel like France 1979 everyone was completely amazed.

            So does that still apply? How smart is it to start a race in basically speed order, these days?

            1. @zann normally, the 1933 Monaco Grand Prix from the pre-war European Grand Prix Championship is credited with being the first European Grand Prix that used times set in qualifying to set the grid.

              That, however, was taken from the Indianapolis 500 – a race of the same international status as a Grand Prix at the time – where the grid order has been set based on qualifying times since 1915, given it was considered to be a fairer way of setting the grid rather than by random ballot or the date when somebody entered their car.

              It was therefore not really “a safety thing” – it’s more that it was considered a fairer way of setting the grid, since it required the driver starting from pole to achieve that through their skill and performance, rather than simply being given it via luck of the draw.

            2. As so often Anon I am in awe of your depth of knowledge. I read it was safety, but without any reference, so fairness was the criterion let’s say, fair enough. Still it leaves the cars starting the race in roughly speed order, and there are other fair ways of setting the order aren’t there.

              It’d be perfectly fair to start EVERY Saturday race in reverse championship order, because over 20 races it’d balance out so that the eventual winner would be the one who’d done most overtaking. Maybe the first race should have qualy and that could be Monaco.

              So then, with parity on the historical front, it’s quite valid to question the nature of the competition and exactly what qualities we want winning to demonstrate. After all fans are always complaining about Lewis/Seb/Schumi driving off down the road not having to do anything apart from laps in ‘the best car’.

            3. over 20 races it’d balance out so that the eventual winner would be the one who’d done most overtaking

              This quote alone shows that you are basing your presumtion on a fallacy. Is being able to overtake (and block others overtaking you, i would add) really the sole sign of the worthy champion though @zann?

              Yes, there can be endless ways to decide the grid. We’ve had reverse championship order, championship order, a lottery, a race (which can have the same permutations of order to start in), the time you file for entry in the race, age, height, weight, the team ranking etc.

              But one of the things a majority of fans were happy to see return with the current qualifying (after they stopped the race fuel thing), was that we were finally able to once again see how incredibly fast these cars were when driven with as little fuel as possible for a qualifying lap. And which driver managed that skill best.
              Why? In part because indeed it harks back to tradition, it brings up memories of Senna, of Schumacher, of Clark, of Fangio, Villeneuve and many many others of the past who also drove amazing qualifying laps. Is that a bad thing in your opionion?

              But the biggest question is, WHY change this when the cars we are going to have for 2022 are already designed to change the races by being a lot more better handling when running in traffic, and causing less disturbance of airflow for the following car.

              I get what you say about – this is a few races, when else to test – but then, it means that we get a strange championship where the results for some races were defined with quite a different model than the majority of it.

            4. Well you’d change it to make it more exxxciting @bascb! Miles better than fake safety cars, bunch starts and red flags. Did you watch when W Series did it?

              It’s true we’d lose some qualy pure speed spectacle as you say, but we’d still get some fastest lappery on low fuel at the end.

              It’d go perfectly with the 2022 cars. In fact one effect would be to get teams designing cars to be better at racing, following.

              Drivers would have to be real racers not just technicians executing laps, it’d be brilliant.

              But they don’t seem to understand that 4 races makes it the dreaded and despicable handicap. Ross has been such a disappointment in this role :(

            5. Well @zann, F1 is not W series though. They use different cars (all the same ones) that behave a lot different when in traffic. And W series has no history for us to dream back of either, does it.

              I think that with the variables that are already available (tyre compounds, cars that have differen strenghts, drivers that have varying skill at qualifying and running the race, pitstop crews that can make mistakes) we should just see how the new 2022 cars turn out. And then we have the budget cap as well as the “aero handicapping” thing that will start coming into play over the years after that.
              In my experience changing too many things at once just doesn’t work, because we won’t know what made the difference and we end up with things like “super degradeable tyres” since that was so fun in one race in Canada.

              The idea to test how these things work out on track is an interesting one. But I am unconvinced it is a good idea to do that test with cars that aren’t much suitable to the whole overtaking that is absolutely vital to make doing a reverse grid thing interesting in the first place.

              And I dislike the reasoning behind suddenly pulling it out of the bag after the Monza race which did not have anythign to do with reverse grids in the first place, since the only cars out of position were Hamilton at the back going towards the midfield and the two Alfas at the front dropping off to the back.
              For the rest there was not much change in position after the first few laps of racing at all. To me it rather showed how poor such an experiment would turn out, so we’d end up with something like the thing they tried with qualifying only to walk back on that within the first few races.

              Then we didn’t adress anything towards how to treat cars getting damaged during that race, the amount of tyres needed (and what type or types), the way teams would try to doctor the rules using both teammates and possible sister/support teams or strategical parking up cars to get a better position for next race. To see those play out, we would have to do this for a whole season to see teams learn the tricks. And then we’d end up with somethign that offers more or less the same scenario as now, with the same teams and cars at the front at the end of a race after playing through the motions of passing backmarkers just because of the rules.

              With the fans out there, I think they would start to see the whole circus as a farce and just a show even before they get to the European races of the season.

            6. Yes with 4 races it’s a gimmick @bascb, but if they do a full season of it then it’s 100% valid.

              In 2022 Lewis will have the best car while Max will be getting more into his prime. So they’ll go round and round 1,2 for 300km.

              Do we want that? Or do we want Max vs Lewis in an overtaking contest??

              Yes a lot of fans so wish F1 could be like it was when they were young, but honestly you shouldn’t run a sport like that.

            7. I think having an “overtaking contest” between Max and Lewis (or really any other 2 drivers) for the season would be incredibly boring @zann. If you want that, you should watch a sport that has heats of sets of drivers battling each other in a tournament style, like what they do with the race of champions events, for example.

              The whole purpose of the 2022 cars (maybe you’ve forgotten since it’s been a while since we had regular discussions about them with the whole 2020 season going quite differently than we had expected in January) is to make them run closer together, be easier to be overtaken and better able to run closely behind another car to make an overtake. And we have the rule coming in that limits aero development more and more for the front of the field and allows more for teams further back, and the cost cap will also help to avoid huge gaps in what teams can trow at creating gaps in performance.

              If we already expect that not to work, the FIA and F1 should just improve on the rules that are planned. If they do believe in them, there is not need to “spice up the show”.

            8. Well we all want to watch the best competing @bascb. Once all the faster ones have overtaken all the slower ones that’s the result of the competition! Obviously there can be different levels, it’s the same for Lando, Alex, Carlos and the others.

              And if you have a race with cars that pass easily, starting in speed order, what happens next?

      2. We shouldn’t changer something because of dead people? That’s enough said???

        1. I’m glad I’m not the only person who is frustrated by people saying “enough said” when they clearly have not said enough.

      1. It is not about nerds; I think it is about passion and fear to the unknown vs making things more even.

        I don’t like F1 as it is now. I think F1 abandoned the DNA long ago. The technical regulation should be very simple and should cover only safety measures and interface. For instance, why not using a full electric car? Why a minimum weight? I miss a lot innovative things not burried in aerodynamics details.
        I would limit the budget but leaving 100% freedom to design, limiting the size of the car for instance. F1 is so bad right now that it is not a spec series, but it is not innovating anymore and it is slowly down to be another spec series. From the technical point of view is boring and useless. Allow power steering, driving assistance, ABS and all the electronics. F1 should be the showcase of latest, greatest, most innovative solutions.

        Races are also boring because they are predictable. I would remove blue flags because it is unfair for the battles behind and it is an extra challenge to win the race. So, if they don’t come with a better solution, current qualy sessions could be replaced with reverse grid but giving also points to the drivers depending on the average speed or one lap time.

        I’d remove the tires limitation, or using a single supplier. The budget limit would be taking into account also the problem of excessive use or expensive developments. Same for parts, engine or fuel imitations. Budget cap and safety is all we need. Please remove all the crappy regulations and let’s bring the show back.

    2. I’m pretty sure I’m against it but at the same time, I’m happy for them to try it in a season that is already a bit dead… Teams aren’t going to invest huge amounts of money in their 2021 cars when there are big rules changes in 2022 so other than a few teams improving their positions slightly or others making mistakes, we’ll still see easy Mercedes dominance with Max trying to pick up on any mistakes Bottas makes to finish 2nd or otherwise, 3rd. Development will quickly switch to the 2022 cars so whoever starts in front will finish in front.

      In a way, I’d be happy to see reverse grids etc tested out so that we can stop talking about it and move on. It might be a bit of fun to see in an otherwise boring season but it’ll quickly become obvious that it really isn’t popular and isn’t something to include in F1’s big “re-boot” season in 2022.

      1. @petebaldwin – perfectly balanced response

      2. @peterbaldwin Totally agree. Let’s take this opportunity to at least see it before we decide it doesn’t work. Moses didn’t provide the blueprint for Formula One after meeting Bernie atop of a mountain, it’s never been enshrined, if trying it for three rounds in what is essentially an incumbent year anyway let’s everyone think it was a daft idea and then we move on.

        1. I do not hope you wanted to treat every “daft idea”, that way.
          There are already enough distractions from real racing.

          1. Once they have one reverse grid. It will set a precedent, then the powers that be will be able to use it whenever they like. without consulting the fans or the teams.
            The next thing will be easier for them to implement.
            Erosion of the sport of F1 is on a slippery enough slope as it is.

            1. They won’t use it whenever they like – they still need to get it past the teams.
              The viewers, however – we are disposable.

      3. I think the best way is to have the cars go one at a time, they get 1 flying lap, that’s it.
        More often that not the fastest cars will be to the front, however it will be down to nerve.

        How many times would bottas be on pole if Lewis didn’t have another 8mins to find a better lap.

        What if sainz was fastest and the 2 mercs couldn’t find there feet?

        This would surely change the grid order a few times, it keeps a qualifying format but without
        Handicaps as such.

        And sure I know everyone will want to run last dur to rubber on track, but maybe this is where the handicap comes in, first in championship goes first?

    3. ‘Since Liberty Media took over Formula 1 the sport’s bosses have been at pains to insist they understand the need to preserve the sport’s ‘DNA’. Getting rid of qualifying would prove this was nothing more than empty words, and that no element of the sport, however intrinsic to its identity, will not be sacrificed in the name of ‘improving the show’.

      Cant say it better than this…

      1. This is what Lewis and Seb think of it, also nicely said: https://youtu.be/MxPt6I6oLPY

    4. This is madness. “Improving the show” while destroying the sport’s fundamental foundations is quite hollow. I’ll like to see a team/ driver awarded for doing the best job of anyone, like almost all other sports, rather than a gimmick in trying to stifle fair competition. We all love an underdog story, but that story should be legitimate, earned on merit to be good, enticing and rich.

      1. I’ll like to see a team/ driver awarded for doing the best job of anyone

        But then motorsports is one of the only sports where not all sporters/teams are treated equally; some start ahead of others when starting the main race. @lems

        Maybe F1 should do like indoor pursuit cycling (have 20 starting and finish lines spread out evenly over the track).

        1. There are a lot of sports where one starts ahead of others though @coldfly. Even apart from time trials like we have in rallying, cycling (at times), skiing where track evolution might define the outcome, we have biathlon, we have cross country skiing, they do it with regattas as well.

          I think the variant you propose would only work on a well balanced track that offers all participants comparable running. And where overtaking is not an issue.

          1. But @bascb other sports you brought up has reverse starting:
            Rallying start revers standings (fastest start last)
            Cycling look at Tour de France when there is a timerit they start reverse grid nr.1 start last.

            These sports are too diferent
            Regattas you never get any qualifling normal or reverse because of the water.
            Biathlon always start with swimming all together so everyone start cycling in a different order.
            cros skiing i don’t know!

            1. Yes, @macleod, there are massive differences between sports.

              By the way, Biathlon is where you have a mix of cross country skiiing and shooting at targets. In Biathlon they even have some races/events where everyone starts at the same time and then you have events where they have a qualifying (or qualifying race) and then the contestants start with the time differences they had as the result of the qualifying.

              But @coldfly is right that normally they do not have the thing that motorsports have where everyone starts at the same time, but the winners of qualifying start closer to the finish line and therefore have to travel a (somewhat) shorter distance to the finish flag (although Marathon running indeed means that people further to the back have to run those few meters more too before they get to the start/finish line to start their races)

            2. Thanks for the explainetion I think i confuse Biathlon with triathlon as snow is very rare and certainly we don’t have mountains.

          2. But @bascb other sports you brought up has reverse starting:
            Rallying start revers standings (fastest start last)
            Cycling look at Tour de France when there is a timerit they start reverse grid nr.1 start last.

            These sports are too diferent
            Regattas you never get any qualifling normal or reverse because of the water.
            Biathlon always start with swimming all together so everyone start cycling in a different order.
            cros skiing i don’t know!

            1. twice? strange

          3. @bascb, either one of us is misunderstanding the other.
            I’m talking about the unfair practice that cars start further back and thus have to race a longer distance to win to overtake the pole sitter.
            I cannot think of any race outside of motorsports (except maybe marathon running; though not sure how they determine who can start up front)

            1. By time of last effort, in groups @coldfly, so new people at the back with professional winners up at the front so they are not hindered in going for records when they and their group of supporting runners go for records. Something like championship/qualifying order.

    5. Tweek it maybe, but leave the qualifying alone.
      Remember the last Radical qualifying change lasted but two races as it was another dumb idea. Leave it alone. The whole purpose of the racing is to be the fastest. And if I understand it F1 is thinking about rewarding that complete team to driver effort, by putting that car at the back of the grid. You want to see wrecking while coming through the field? Then go watch NASCAR. Who in their right mind would risk the drivers first and for most then the sponsors who would find the focus of their investment at the back of the grid as the race starts. Remember new to F1 fans might see their favorite brand associated with being the leaders at first of a flipped grid. Hey the toilet paper I use is advertised on the car I thought was fastest but now is in last place. Why? Maybe the product isn’t any good if it’s on the last place car I see racing. Get it ?? I can not believe Formula One is ever considering this idea.
      Want a better race for the people, then change the many rules that gift lesser drivers a chance to pass better drivers by means that have nothing to to do with ability but more so to the entertainment factor. Not every race can produce these desired results. Some races are just sucky. Then there are the true great ones aren’t there…Spa, Monaco and now Mugello where advertisers get their payback because their product is seen by many because the racing tracks generate interest.
      Stop this silly idea of reverse grids. It will not return on its own promise. Look for something else to mess up. Qualifying as is remains an important part of Formula One. Leave it alone

    6. So stupid this is even a discussion

      1. +1 I have been known to count off team and driver progress in tenths of a second per weekend, and in seconds per year. I have the idea that it can take ten years to get the front. Hopefully this is all just a wind-up and could never be a real thing. All that following the timing becomes meaningless if some big hand comes down and picks up the cars and shuffles them around. I will feel like a total, total Mug if this goes through.

      2. Brawn is worse than Bernie, changed my mind

    7. I’m all for shaking up qualifying, but not like this. I love the indycar way of qualifying – sometimes it’s a F1 style knockout session. Sometimes it’s a one lap shootout. Sometimes the cars are split into two groups for an F2 monaco style session. I don’t think we’ll ever have a perfect qualifying format, so why not cycle between a few really good ones?

    8. I have to agree with what Sebastian Vettel said about the idea in a press conference when this idea was first mooted

      There have been a lot of changes to the sport which have made statistics over the 70 years irrelevant (number of points earned etc.)

      Watching the on boards of the cars in qualifying is amazing, especially on tracks such as Mugello, when we see them in qualifying trim at turn 8 in Turkey will be immense as well

    9. Just to be clear to anyone who reads this article and thinks that qualifying as we know it would be gone forever – that’s not the case, and it never will be.
      Reverse grid qualifying races would only ever take place at a few selected events throughout the season. At every other event (at least 3/4 of the races on the calendar) normal qualifying will still take place as it does now.
      This is not the end of F1 – don’t exaggerate.

      As to whether they are a good thing or not – well, of course they aren’t. But this is what happens when every other method to close up the competition gets rejected.
      Massive drop in downforce plus overall extreme aero simplification? Nuh uh.
      Spec aero or chassis? No way.
      Success ballast? Nope.
      Balance of Performance system? Absolutely not.
      Budget cap? Sort of, but only multiple decades after it became evident that it was necessary.
      Anything else? No. F1 is ‘pure racing’… (as if that were true).

      The fact is that if F1 were about racing rather than money, we’d have a better competition and there wouldn’t be any such suggestions coming up.
      Honestly, without doing something next year – F1 will suffer in the long term. It is suffering already – that’s why this suggestion is here.
      I say let’s just do it. See what happens while we are still stuck with these awful cars, and then we’ll have a fresh start in 2022. If they still can’t race (my hopes are low) then hopefully they’ll finally learn (yeah right) that a problem needs an actual solution, rather than a workaround. Eventually they mght realise that F1 cars simply disturb the air too much to race together, and a lot more downforce needs to come off, and the cars need to be cleaned up.

      And everyone was laughing at Bernie merely for suggesting that the track get wet more often.

      1. Reverse grid qualifying races would only ever take place at a few selected events throughout the season. At every other event (at least 3/4 of the races on the calendar) normal qualifying will still take place as it does now.

        True, However it would still rob us of watching the cars on low fuel with drivers pushing flat out for ultimate lap time.

        Imagine going to a circuit like Spa, Silverstone or Monza (Which were venues that were brought up for the trials this year) & at no point over the weekend getting to see the cars on the limit, Is that really a spectacle we want to lose even for a few gimmick weekends every year?

        Certainly isn’t something I want to lose from any of them as those mega qualifying laps are one of my favourite parts of the whole weekend.

        1. I think for a few events next year, yeah, we can try something else.
          We love qualifying the way it is, but with the current cars it simply makes for dull races.
          If changing the qualifying at these few events makes the races better, then I’m all for it – as a temporary measure.

          It’s a compromise – just as everything is in F1.

          1. S Personally I have been for the experiment all along, but since it has come up again full force since Monza, with Brawn bringing this up again, I’ve decided to vote strongly against both here and on the Fan Survey. My reasoning is that I have just not heard enough reassurance that this would only be about spicing things up next year with these cars that are so terrible at racing closely.

            Oh I trust Brawn very much and I honour his work overwhelmingly at turning F1 around by tackling all the important issues in a very significant way, and a way that the teams have agreed and signed up for, having bought into the new direction. But so stoked and confident I am for the new gen, that I don’t want even a risk of reverse grid quali races to muddy that as I don’t believe they will be necessary. And if they somehow are still ‘necessary’ that will have meant to me they didn’t go far enough with the new regs and I’d rather see them tweak those than resort to reversing grids.

            If Brawn were to say something like this would only be to make up for the terrible cars next year, but that for 2022 onward it is not a thought, then I’d be way more on board for 4 weekends next year. As it is I’d rather they not even be tempted by an experiment, such is my conviction that this would be a much bigger mistake to implement in 2022 than in 2021.

            1. As I’ve said before, I don’t think the 2022 regs go anywhere near far enough, and they still won’t be racing well.
              However, I remain confident that any reverse grid qualifying would only be for next year at this stage, as they will want to fully investigate what the cars will do. Reverse grid qualifying in 2022 would just add an unnecessary variable and make it even harder to gather the necessary data on the new cars.

              And if they then did want to reintroduce reverse grid qualifying as a regular thing – well, F1 would be completely beyond hope.
              Next year is their chance to test things – anything necessary – to learn and to entertain. If/when 2022 rolls around and they’ve still learned nothing – they’ve got no-one else to blame but themselves.

              The danger for me is that they don’t test these sorts of things – and just go ahead and introduce them fully instead.
              That’s why I support testing reverse grid qualifying races next year.

            2. Fair comment. Why don’t you think the (now) 2022 regs have gone far enough to invite closer racing?

            3. @robbie
              They will still make too much downforce and create too much turbulence.
              The huge diffuser/ground effect floor may potentially reduce the overall amount of turbulence, but it still leaves a massive low pressure zone that will rob the following car of downforce.

              One positive change they could make would be to make the cars much smaller. Make them narrower to create a smaller frontal area, and shorten them to reduce total aerodynamic surface available for downforce and vortex creation.
              And I truly hope they’ve learned that all those tiny winglets and vanes all over the cars need to go and never come back. They are there for only one purpose – to create vortices.

    10. Why not adopt motoGp style qualifying format? This will give incentive to all teams to run and set proper times in all 3 FP sessions.

    11. Saturday is for hardcore fans. This nonsense rises alienating them and is unlikely to draw in casual fans.

      Starting faster cars ahead is practical. I suspect we’ll see a Stroll train or whoever is the first driver in a fast car). I suspect we willl also see lots of “we’re not racing Lewis” passes where the slower drivers focus on keeping ahead of their rivals.

      Common F1, focus on the real problems.

      1. Lack of entertainment is the real problem.

        You’re absolutely right, this may not draw in new fans – but so few are being drawn in to F1 currently because there is no competition and the races a re mostly painfully dull and uneventful.
        A lot of stuff needs to change – and next year provides as good an opportunity as this year did for trialing some things – lest they get introduced untested.

        1. The biggest issue in terms of F1 attracting new fans isn’t ‘the show’, It’s the move towards PayTV.

          The on track product now in terms of the racing isn’t really that different to what it’s always been yet in the past it was more widely accessible which is the biggest reason it grew to where it did. And despite how bad the product allegedly is now it is still actually seeing growth in regions that haven’t gone towards PayTV, North America been the obvious example where viewership has grown steadily since it moved to ESPN.

          1. Viewership was tiny in North America before Liberty took over.
            Rising from ‘insignificant’ to ‘minor’ is not really much to boast about.

        2. S, as @stefmeister has rightly pointed out, the biggest reason for declining audience figures has been the wholesale move towards pay TV.

          When you examine a number of the bigger drops in international viewing figures, most of them have occurred the year after a major market for F1 switched from free to air to pay TV: for example, a few years ago there was a marked drop in viewing figures which almost exactly matched the reduction in viewing figures in France and China when those two regions switched to pay TV (the reduction in viewing figures in those two markets made up approximately 95% of the reduction in viewers that season).

          In fact, it has been pointed out that this is a systematic trend across the world of sport as a whole – for example, the English Premier League, where for so long subscription TV services would pay out ever increasing sums of money paid for by growing audiences, has seen those subscription TV services reporting declining viewing figures as a rising proportion of their potential audience have cancelled those services and switched to cheaper highlights based streaming services.

          The real problem is that of accessibility – you can create all the excitement you want, there are a lot of people who are never going to pay the sort of money those pay TV services are demanding to watch those sports. Reverse races is a proposal coming from the very organisation – Sky TV – which has created so many of the problems of the sport in the first place and which the sport is unable to confront because it has become too dependent on it.

          It is a gimmick to distract from the fact that the real problem is the fact that people are fed up with being squeezed for more money and don’t want to pay for a subscription to organisations whose existence now largely depends on live sports, given that online streaming services are able to out-compete them everywhere else.

          1. If the ‘show’ is worth paying for, people will find the money – or find alternative means.
            Less than when it is free, obviously – but that’s the whole basis behind Pay TV. It’s ‘premium content,’ supposedly.

            I don’t disagree – Free TV will always attract the most viewers, but F1 is about money first, entertainment second and sport comes later. It’s been that way for every one of the 32 years I’ve been watching it – and like the ever-diminishing sporting element, it gets worse every year.
            Only F1 can solve their own problems – and blaming outside interests (manufacturers, broadcasters, whatever) is simply just buck-passing.

            1. S, but even the monetary argument is questionable over the longer term, given that sponsors have perceived it as a move that has reduced the value of sponsoring a team.

              It’s a case of enriching the commercial rights holder in the short to medium term, and also giving them more power as the proportion of income that teams derive from TV revenue has increased over time as sponsorship has declined, but it’s not a healthy situation.

              Furthermore, as shown with situations such as the English Premier League, the argument that “people will find the money” isn’t holding true over time – even something as ubiquitous as football is getting to the point where it is losing commercial value because there are a rising number of people who do not want the cost and hassle of those subscription services, no matter how exciting you make it.

              Motorsport is a more niche sport in the world and, in a number of locations, the cost of a subscription to watch Formula 1 would be disproportionately high – for example, in the UK TV subscription services can range from around £450 to around £1000 a year, and even comparatively low cost options like Now TV are still several hundred pounds a year.

              You might say “well, they’ll find the money” – but there is rather weak evidence to suggest that is the case and that sort of casual interest isn’t translating into sales. The crutch of a reverse race doesn’t disguise the fact that the real problem is one that the sport could address, but does not want to because it actively suits Liberty Media’s interests to ignore that issue.

            2. So what to do?
              F1 without the mega-money broadcast deals would be less than it currently is. Some teams may well not even be in F1 now without Pay Tv money.
              It’s a big issue, and we all want F1 to be free to the end-user. It’s not going to happen, though.

              Nor is that aspect responsible for the quality (or lack thereof) of the on-track product.
              F1 is simply poor value for anyone on a modest budget. But those on a modest budget are not F1’s target demographic anyway – they are a premium ‘sport’ and command a premium to be a part of it.
              Other motorsports are free to view, F1 doesn’t want to be free to view – they want to maximise their short term profits instead.
              I, for one, would not pay for what F1 is right now. If it were more satisfying to me, I would be more likely pay for it, as I would feel that I was getting better value for money.

              I agree with you that Pay TV is the devil – but there’s not much we can do about that. Bernie and Liberty see sense in it. The teams aren’t complaining too much with their generous commercial payments. The drivers salaries aren’t suffering….
              You can either get all your friends and family to stop watching it on Pay TV and hope that Liberty sees the light and so sells the rights to free TV instead – or pray for the end of capitalism.

            3. S, except that Liberty Media have said that, whilst pay-TV offers a short term premium, they actually believe it is detrimental to the long term future of the sport and they want to scale back on the number of pay-TV broadcasters.

              Whilst you state that “F1 doesn’t want to be free to view”, Bratches has previously said that “From a brand standpoint, F1 is nowhere near the position to lose free-to-air viewership.” and wanted 75% of the broadcasts to be on free to air services.

              Similarly, the argument that “those on a modest budget are not F1’s target demographic anyway – they are a premium ‘sport’ and command a premium to be a part of it” is then met by Bratches stating that they actually don’t want to restrict their audience in that way and that trying to cultivate a limited audience in that way is a sub-optimal business strategy.

              It’s also been pointed out that, when you look at how much additional revenue that those deals bring in and then compare it to what the free to air services were paying, the smaller teams – the ones which have been the most commercially vulnerable – are in fact really not gaining that much.

              Using the Sky UK deal, it was pointed out that, even if you made the most generous assumption – that all of the additional revenue that Sky was paying all went to the teams, which is almost certainly not the case – then those teams might only have gained around £2-4 million a year more than they were before that change.

              Given that, in reality, Liberty Media is almost certainly taking a portion of that additional revenue, and that additional revenue isn’t a great boost. Indeed, a number of teams have suggested that, at best, they’re not really gaining anything more because they’re seeing a loss in the value of their sponsorship packages, and at worst some think that it’s actually resulted in them losing revenue as they’ve lost more from declining sponsorship interest than they’ve gained in pay-TV revenue.

              You say that “The teams aren’t complaining too much with their generous commercial payments. The drivers salaries aren’t suffering…”, but you’re basically only looking at a handful of teams and drivers at the front – further down the pack, the situation really looks quite a bit worse and the economic benefits have been more mixed. Meanwhile, the Formula One Promoters Association, which represents the circuits and national race promoters, is mostly against the shift to pay TV and have been complaining that it’s actively hurting that side of the business – not exactly great when F1 is so reliant on those circuits paying money into the sport.

              The idea of shifting more towards pay-TV, and then relying on moves such as reverse grids to try and then spice things up, is a strategy that even Liberty Media seems to be rather dubious about.

    12. No, I’m even for a return of the good old one hour sessions.
      Im for less simulating time, less cfd time, less wind tunnel time, and significantly more track time to develop the car.

      MotoGP proves year after year that the actual format of Practice, Qualifying, Warm Up, and Race works. It is the technical formula that needs work, the camera angles and directing needs work, the regulations needs work, everything needs real thought out work and not just adhoc gung ho changes, just to fight symptoms or change for the sake of change.

      1. But so much more money is made by extending a higher level event for three days. Think about hotels, restaurants and Mercantile nearby that gets a major part of their annual earnings during a three day event or circus as it goes from town to town as once described. So the single day investment may become harder to swallow from the revenues brought to most communities around let’s say F1. I’ve said this more than 30 times that it’s all about the money. How then can Racing continue as is ? It’s simple, just leave stuff that works alone. The general concept of F1 is fine. Still nothing bigger or better for 70 years. So why mess it up now? It can only be Money. Costs money to make money. So leave the biggest and most popular racing sport alone…as is. 2022 is close so just let it be. Let’s see how much trouble the next generation becomes or gets into. Maybe they will be too fast finally. That’s why we leave any changing alone. It’s not needed.

    13. Massive gimmick.
      Unneeded.

      1. Yep…

        Article says “…the starting order for every one of the 1,027 races has been decided by a qualifying session…” but the official F1 site says “…up until 1996 qualifying followed a fairly standard pattern – there were two sessions in which to set times, one on the Friday and one on the Saturday, and no fuel restrictions of any kind.”

        So more than “a” qualifying session 🤔

    14. It does feel like a critical decision. Obviously if it didn’t work, no problem, one season of aberrations (at 4+ races) and a return to normal. So the danger is that it does work and prove popular, even with drivers, who currently seem against it too. Races will probably remain much the same with most of the championship leading drivers making their way close to the top of the grid even before the race starts. But it really cancels out ‘qualifying’ as a genuine metric for one-lap speed. It’s a handicap system, race by race, which doesn’t really exist at elite levels of sport (trying to think of an example). And given Formula 1’s projection of itself as the elite motorsport, it seems completely contradicatory, aimed at penalizing the best drivers and teams. If you start eroding that image, you undermine the motivation of those top drivers and teams from taking part. You could rapidly end up with an inferior spec series filled with gimmicks to sustain a dwindling fan and competitor interest because Formula 1 lost a sense of what it is. TBH I thought Brawn was better than this.

      1. Really and I agree….his idea of this is staggering foolish

    15. I am slightly split on this one. I am not fundamentally opposed to reverse grid qualifying race, and it might bring some interesting twists…but I don’t want to see the single lap raw speed qualifying to go extinct. So, overall I disagree.

    16. To me this is less gimmicky than the “balance of power” in Le Mans or other sports car series. Much simpler. I wouldn’t mind seeing two back to back races in the middle of the season with this format, to have the champion of that season to show us what they’re made of. And it would be an interesting engineering challenge as well. But you can’t get rid of qualifying, for the test of ultimate pace.

    17. Should Formula 1 hold a race without a qualifying session?

      What a weird – and possibly ‘leading’ – way to set up this poll, @KeithCollantine.

      You might be in favour, indifferent, or against the idea of qualifying races, but it is still a ‘qualifying session’.
      I’d argue it (qualifying race) is an even fairer way to have a qualifying session then when we had single-driver-on-track sessions with evolving track conditions and potetially weather.

      Of course the real problem with a qualifying race is who gets to sign the Pirelli tyre.

      1. https://www.racefans.net/2019/10/06/should-f1-trial-reverse-grid-races-instead-of-qualifying-in-2020/

        @coldfly I noticed what you are speaking of almost a year ago. That I’m aware of they’d still be determining an order by which to start Sunday’s race, even if using a race to do so.

        1. Indeed @Robbie.
          As far as I know the Sunday starting grid is the problem as cars have to start behind each other, rather than next to each other (or in different parts of the track as I suggested above).
          Single lap shout-outs are the way to allocate the uneven starting spots right now. But it’s only mature to have an open discussion about alternatives.

      2. @coldfly

        even fairer

        I agree it’s a qualifying session still, however good or bad, but ‘even fairer’ – how can it possibly be ‘fair’? It’s a bit like playing a football match to half-time and then reversing the scores to cancel out the other team having played better in the first half.

        1. @david-br
          You are right I shouldn’t have said ‘even fairer’ but rather ‘less unfair’.

          The comparison to football is a bit off though. The qualifying sprint race would merely determine which team will have the kick off in the main match.

          And whilst I’m on this (I seem to be getting more and more in favour of qualifying races) how can people complain that a reverse grid race is ‘unfair’ by having the fastest team starting at the back. If it is really that difficult for Mercedes to overtake a slower car, how do we ever expect a slower car even try to put up a fight in the real race when they are forced to start behind on Sunday. Maybe we should cancel the Sunday altogether and award points based on the ‘fairer’ Saturday results.

          1. If it is really that difficult for Mercedes to overtake a slower car, how do we ever expect a slower car even try to put up a fight in the real race

            But the problem is, Mercedes aren’t the only cars on the grid. There are many races where cars struggle to follow each other and overtaking is difficult, even when a car is faster.

            Imagine Monza or Canada 2019 when Ferrari had a faster car and Lewis harried Leclerc and Vettel all race. The cars were simply too close together in performance for reverse grid not to lead to an unfair result.

            And what about tracks like Austria and Hungary? Can Mercedes overtake a Red Bull there if they qualify ahead, but have to start behind?

            No matter how we look at this, it simply isn’t fair. The only way i can see this being implemented with the faintest modicum of fairness is to exclude the top 3 teams – whoever they are.

            They all start at the back, but according to their qualifying order. That way, if Mercedes qualify ahead of Red Bull or Ferrari, they wouldn’t be starting behind them, but will still be at the back of the grid.

          2. @coldfly I think my football analogy is a bit better than that! Kicking off gives virtually zero advantage to a team. Indeed, if you’re José Mourinho, it’s a disadvantage (He once said the team that wins is the one that makes fewer bad mistakes, and you only make a mistake when you have the ball, so better give it away… no, it doesn’t make much sense).

            Your argument that qualifying doubles down on the advantage of the top teams/drivers is, actually, a very good one though. Obviously the grid needs to be decided somehow (randomly? by rotation of positions over a season?). I agree with others here, though, that reverse grid qualifying would mean sacrificing what works and is part of Formula 1’s long history – qualifying sessions currently – in order to try to improve the race, and/or add a ‘show’ to make up for the supposedly dull races. Personally I’m more inclined to think viewers have changed more than Formula 1 and that’s the real ‘problem’ Formula 1 is constantly trying to address.

            1. Maybe the analogy works the other way around and should the starting grid be determined by the toss of a (20-sided) coin, @david-br.

    18. we definitely should. change is important in anything and just like they no longer race in those dangerous 1950s cars, they shouldnt use the 1950s formats as well. only those stubborn boomers would want to keep things the traditional way. f1 has never been a sport and is more of an entertainment and whatever it takes to improve the show is needed. there is a reason why people watch less original stuff like wwe.

      1. Stubborn boomers? Really? You want a show go to the theatre. You want cheap gimmick racing go watch nascar. All this talk of f1 being a “show” is so stupid. Maybe if ross brawn didn’t rush through stupid technical regulations for the 2019 season that made it harder to overtake we wouldnt be in this situation. In 2018 we had a great season and by the end Mercedes, ferrari & redbull were all close in qualifying & race pace. One stupid rushed decision by Ross brawn so Mercedes take a massive step forward & ferrari & redbull go backwards. But sure let’s let Ross brawn rush through some more changes that will end up failing.

        1. Eh Adam, according to Brawn, evidence is that 2019 slightly helped reduce/hold back the evolution to ever worse overtaking which was accelerated in 2016, and in addition it was mainly the ‘we are best at aero’ Red Bull, proponents of that change, who lost out, not Ferrari or others near the front.

    19. I disagree with changing it, however not because I am opposed on the principle of it. Three-stage qualifying is hella fun, but other options can be fun too.

      However, let’s keep it real for a second, the only reason this is debated is because Mercedes continues to run away with F1. That, combined with their clear #1/#2 roles enables Hamilton to roll to victories unchallenged.

      So I am opposed to it because it is putting a band-aid on a severely gangrenous wound.

      A gimmick enabling Liberty Media to pretend like Mercedes isn’t miles ahead and that there actually is excitement in a race weekend. Instead of nonsense like that, the FIA and to a lesser extent Liberty Media need to get to work to either explicitly cripple Mercedes or provoke their exit from the sport (as insufferable as the “Bring back the V10” crowd it, it would be helpful in getting Mercedes to leave). It is not fair, but when the decision is between unfairness or facades to make the sport appear more entertaining than it is, then I’d rather have the unfairness.

      1. @klon given that Red Bull has often been further ahead of the chasing pack than Mercedes have been ahead of Red Bull, making Mercedes leave would simply switch one form of domination for another form of domination that would probably be even worse.

        The irony is that, in proposing that solution, you’re falling prey to the same band aid solution that you criticise others for – all you’d do there is to displace the problem from one team to another without solving the issue.

        1. @klon Well at least you admitted you were going to keep it real ‘for a second.’

      2. Yes , F1 should get rid of Mercedes. No one wants to see the best car at the front. We want to see the second best car at the front.
        Hopefully Max will have thrown his toys out his coat by then, and then Ham can achieve WDCs with three different teams.
        Alternatively we could swop Bottas with Albon or Gasley and they can give Ham a hard time like they have done with Max.
        Obviously that wont suit those whose real problem is Hamilton.

    20. They finally got the qualifying format right, so of course it is time to change it.
      Saturdays have been consistantly more interesting to watch than Sundays for years now.
      Why fix what isn’t broken?

      1. Because that’s the problem. Saturdays are good, but they make for a dull Sunday.

        The idea is to compromise Saturday to improve Sunday.
        You know… The Grand Prix that you actually tune in for.

        Don’t get me wrong, there are far better solutions to that problem – but F1 continues to ignore them.

        1. The idea that 100m sprint should be different to 10k marathon is too much for the ‘purists’ to comprehend.

    21. why is this still a question? NO. if you want all those gimmicks start a new series.

    22. With the current bunch of ugly, over-elaborate non-racing cars, they should keep qualifying and drop the race…

      1. Brilliantly funny comment

    23. How about they instead do Friday practice only, Saturday Race 1 and Sunday Race 2. Both race grids are drawn from a hat, and the the points awarded are an aggregate of both races. Two chances to win from a random grid slot, sounds fair enough.

    24. F1’s problems have nothing to do with qualifying. Reverse grids amount to being penalized for being fast. What we have now is not ‘old school’ qualifying, but it’s fair and it is pretty exciting. Reverse grides is an absolute NO for me.

    25. No. Partly because I love the current qualifying format, partly because I can’t stand the idea of qualifying races. It has no ‘sporting’ rationale behind it – it’s entirely a ‘spice up the show’ gimmick, aimed at the sort of people who’d start clapping and cheering if they saw Hamilton, Verstappen, Leclerc and Bottas wiped out at Turn 1.

      It also introduces far too much randomness… Monza was a real feel-good event because the outcome was so unexpected. If that outcome was entirely normal, I would personally get bored of it very quickly and likely become frustrated at the best driving and engineering not receiving the rewards they deserve. And it opens the door for team-mate and ‘client team’ blocking (or at least, racing some cars, giving others an easy pass) to become a much bigger part of races, and that might be the thing I dislike the most.

      And finally, because ‘qualifying races’ just wouldn’t work with the current cars… and the current tyres would probably win 1st prize in a Stilton contest after three laps trying to follow closely at some circuits, so they’d need replacing too.

      F1 Fan Voice is banging on about Monza, but all that race really showed is that overtaking is very difficult when everyone has happy tyres, even when there’s a performance gap. I’m almost certain Hamilton was the only driver who managed to overtake anyone (well, anyone who wasn’t Raikkonen) after the red flag, first lap excluded. The result was great, but especially if you watch it a second time, the race itself was terrible.

      1. @neilosjames Hard to argue anything you’ve said there.

      2. +1 @neilosjames And another +1 for ‘well, anyone who wasn’t Raikkonen’ :oP

      3. @neilosjames you are indeed correct that, after the first lap of the restart, position changes were confined to just a couple of drivers – Hamilton, having been dropped to the back and then coming back through, and Raikkonen in his artificially high position being overtaken by others (there was technically Giovinazzi and his penalty, but that doesn’t really count).

      4. @neilosjames +1.

        I voted strongly disagree even if I’m quite excited to see a reverse grid qually. I just know from Indycar and other sports that I crave fairness and sport first and foremost, and will in the end feel sullied if artificial things get in the way of that.

      5. Couldn’t have said it better.
        Reeks of that one Canada race that was spiced up by the tyres and – lo and behold – F1 dreamed of recreating that random result and got stuck on the degrading tyres addiction. I hope history doesn’t repeat itself and pulls us even deeper in this vicious spice-up-the-show circle.

    26. Strongly disagree. Nothing wrong with the current qualifying format that has been in place since the beginning of the V8 era.

    27. In horse racing they draw for post position. F1 could draw for pole positions if they want to do something different. Reverse grid is a gimmick that will be exploited by teams.

      1. Agree. A lottery is better than a reverse grid, if only for its unpredictability.
        Thinking of it, reverse grid is a really bad idea. Even a beauty contest would be better; at least it would challenge the drivers.

    28. I voted “No Opinion” just to be that stupid guy who fills out an opinion poll by answering no opinion! Ha

    29. Qualifying formats have changed loads in my time as a viewer. No problem with any of them really. But it should always be a shootout for raw, single lap pace.

      So a definite “no” from me.

    30. There are more options. I want qualifying AND reversed grids.

      I Say:
      Leave qualifying like it is now, except you get points for qualifying so same incentive to finish first as in the race.

      Start grid is in this order based on qualifying : Places 1-6 reversed, places 7-12 reversed, 13-18 reversed etc

    31. I voted strongly agree as the question was phrased as “should a race be held without a qualifying session”.
      I really think we should at least try it, test the waters because if we never try anything we’ll never know. We tried the “slowest driver eliminated every minute” tweak (every 1 minute or 2, can’t remember) and it was rubbish and reverted back. We should give it a try in my opinion.

    32. How hard is it for Lewis to overtake Valteri on most circuits, near impossible if both cars are working correctly. So Vateri leads the championship one week and Lewis the next , this sounds almost as contrived as Love Island , which I most certainly have never watched, but I may watch it for excitement if reverse grids become the norm for F1.

    33. Why not have the starting grid based on the results of the previous race – it won’t necessarily remove the Mercedes from the top but imagine Gasly and Stroll at the top of the grid for Mugello. I find qualifying rather pointless and unnecessarily dangerous. RIP Gilles.

    34. I don’t think I want it to be the norm, but I really want to see a few rounds of it and see how its like.

    35. Tbh, I think that the main point in the discussion created by Ross is to highlight that F1 cars are developed by considering very idealized conditions. If you are at the pole, then these conditions meet, and unless you get an over/undercut or a restart, you are safe. We saw this during Monza and Tuscan GPs. Mercedes cars behave no better than Redbull when these are behind another cars. That’s why Bottas can not challenge Lewis in race. Pirelli tyres do not help unless your car setup is a disaster. Just remember Silverstone.

      To me, reverse grid is one way to stop Mercedes dominance. If it is impemented, I do not believe it will last after 2021… well if the new aeropackage works as it is suposed to do.

    36. Reverse grids have the bad taste of a contrived gimmick. Much like how DRS increased overtaking in the most unexciting way possible, what made Gasley’s win most impressive is because he earned it. Sure there was an element of luck, but it wasn’t due to an FIA imposed trick to spice up a race.

    37. Absolutely not.

      Formula 1 doesn’t need gimmicks. It needs greater parity in budgets. It’s obvious to anyone that pays attention what divides teams. Money doesn’t guarantee success, but without it, you are pretty much guaranteed to be an also-ran.

    38. Why not have a lottery system after 3rd practice which entitles to the number of qualifying laps one can have in the qualifying session.. ranging from 3 to 6 laps per driver.

    39. I have always maintained that (for me) the qualifying is usually more entertaining than the actual race. At least 7 out of 10 times I would say.

      Therefore I am happy for Qually to stay as it is.

      However, being a believer in always trying something new, I wouldn’t rip my hair out in total rage if they wanted to try a different idea.
      Just as a trial for a race or two though. Don’t switch it for a full season straight away. Try it and see what everyone thinks first.

    40. Reverse grid is just the best way to kill qualifying.
      Always hold on to your tradition and this is one of the few things still left in F1.
      The real poll should be if we are to allow F1 rules to be dictated by the mob.

      1. Which mob?
        The one who payed $4.4Billion for it?
        Or this one?

        Perhaps it’s the mob of manufacturer teams that have worked so hard to ruin F1 that led us here in the first place?

    41. Instead of being just an idea, I think we need from Ross Brawn, his full plans and reasons why he thinks this idea might work.

      1. That is the issue. The mighty “might”.

    42. 110% disagree with quali racing

      1. @canadianjosh What makes you doubtful and not 120%?

    43. I couldn’t be more strongly opposed to this idea.

    44. Lining the cars up fastest to slowest is only a problem when you don’t allow the cars to be changed between qualifying and the race. If a car is better in race trim, the team won’t be able to maximize this because they’ll have to compromise their race set-up in order to qualify in a decent position.

      1. In a free for all, what parts would a team add that makes their Sunday any better than Saturday?
        That would only happen if all the teams had to make a compromise based on both events. Which is what happens now.

    45. It’s crazy so many fans are so dead-against the idea that they would not have even a single race weekend go the other way to at least trial it. Shows some real hard-set viewpoints. Glad the halo was never put up for a poll by F1.

      1. Yeah F1 should have been punished for not listening to the traditional purists on that one.

    46. The simple minds would never let the most sporting ‘gimmick’ be implemented.
      Even the regular contrivances once a season is too much for the ‘purists’ involved.

      F1 is doomed to serve qualifying lap (sprint) replays as a race (marathon) to the watching masses.

      1. Jay, so, is that it? Your attitude is not to try and put together an actual coherent argument, but instead to just belittle and abuse people and hope that you can just bludgeon them into acceptance?

        Do you not think that mocking, abusing and taunting fans for not supporting this idea isn’t completely counterproductive? Why would anyone want to support you and your viewpoint in that case – all you’re doing is instead making people even more likely to reject the idea because they associate it with somebody who will just insult them.

        1. First of all, F1 can implement an even better and far more organic solution than this sporting gimmick. But for that to happen, a lot of these ‘purists’ need to understand that a race isn’t a replay of qualifying laps. That addiction to being just the fastest rather than the best, is hurting everyone involved.

          Second of all, l hardly doubt any F1 fan is going to lose sleep over hard comments on the internet, to the extent that you seem to think so. It is what it is.
          If you still feel aggrieved, I am sure owners here can help you out.

          1. Jay, there have been a number of people asking whether there is indeed an engineered attempt to co-ordinate a mass spamming of sites such as this by individuals such as yourself parroting Liberty Media’s arguments in a way that seems intended to overwhelm criticism and distract from criticising the idea by throwing around insults – so, in that sense, I would not object to the idea of the site owners investigating individuals like yourself for that sort of suspect behaviour.

    47. The answer to this question was answered with the title of the article. Sports should not break a tradition that has been in place for seventy years (unless it is something that just doesn’t work with either modern times, or the modern day version of the sport.) Formula 1 qualifying has been in existence since the very beginning, and as it still works with modern day F1 there is no reason to get rid of it.
      I have two other objections to reverse grids. Firstly, qualifying is the only time in the weekend that we see the cars actually trying their best to go as fast as they possibly can, so it would be sad for that to be taken away.
      Finally, reverse grids would mean that a lot more midfield teams would win races. This would be exciting at first, but would eventually stop being interesting and would completely devalue the excitement of races like Monza when a midfield team like Alpha Tauri wins. This is particularly brilliant when this happens because it only happens occasionally, so making it happen all the time would ruin the excitement. If F1 fans want to see a really exciting races every time, they should turn to the BTCC, which never fails to produce great racing. In 2018, for example, there were 17 different winners in 30 races, and the champion won only one race. There is also overtaking every lap, up and down the field. But there is something about it that makes it not quite as good as F1, and reverse grids, although they would be thrilling at first, would lower F1’s status – the best drivers in the world compete, and only the best driver-team combinations can win races. With reverse grids, this would no longer be the case.

    48. Strongly disagree! How can FIA call for cost cap and then create a reverse grid sprint race where many car collisions and costly damages are inevitable?!

    49. There is something very simple that the F1 bosses are missing out with these proposals. Strategists and engineers will simply find a way around it. Chewing gum Pirellis were meant to improve the show by having multiple pit stops etc- that largely hasn’t happened. Sometimes we get slow burners like Silverstone and we see that strategy work out as intended (obviously not the blowouts but the high deg 1 stoppers vs the 2 stoppers) but that is few and far between. I find it hard to think that Merc will be running their highest strat modes just to start bone last- and have it all to do again.

      Think about how teams already manage running in wet weather sessions- sometimes they don’t even run so as to save tyres for the race pending on forecast. In my humble opinion Liberty are being short sighted on this one- all of a sudden we will see Merc and Red Bull well off the pace during qualy and how can you then punish them for that? Some people may largely disagree- but F1 is a sport not WWE. It’s a mechanical sport where the best drivers and the best teams prevail. Since its inception F1 has always been about the car bar a few exceptions- as many have said, instead of trying to introduce these gimmicks fix the pricing of the product first.

    50. Depressing. Brawn should know better than this. Fool.

    51. Let’s let Ross brawn (the guy who rushed through technical changes in 2018 that made it even harder to overtake) make even more changes that will end up damaging f1. I mean what could go wrong.

      1. We cannot allow one man (Ross Brawn) to destroy the pinnacle of motorsport!

    52. Yes, yes, yes. A thousand times yes. Current qualifying is by far the worst format we’ve ever had and it’s the same borefest every race weekend. The worst part of the weekend, even free practice is more interesting than qualifying.

    53. Absolute 100% yes from me – not because the current format is bad, but just because sometimes a difference or a change isn’t a bad thing. Could it improve racing? Maybe. Is it gimmicky? Maybe. But we won’t know until we try.

      As for people talking about upholding ‘tradition’ or the ‘DNA’ of the sport, you all do notice the cars are substantially different to what they were when we started? Even qualifying itself has changed dramatically in just the time I’ve watched it, let alone before. F1 is not a static beast – it is changable and adaptable by its very definition – you cannot be the ‘pinnacle’ of anything if you stand still. Let it try and do something different. It may end up being a new tradition.

      1. Why not try the use of sprinkles? Wait! Snow guns are even better, no? That would really be different. Let it try and it may end up being a new F1 tradition! :)

    54. amazing that some people (8% as of now) strongly agree

      1. They don’t understand F1. F1 is not as easy as pie.

        1. I strongly agree and I don’t find that remarkable in any way. I don’t understand F1? You mean the rules?

    55. Yet another clumsy attempt to break Mercedes domination of the sport since the hybrid era was introduced. The only team to benefit at the moment would be Ferrari, and how long did Ross Brawn work for them? Or is this designed to prevent Lewis Hamilton from attempting to win 8 Championships and proving he is the best F1 driver ever? He’s already won more Grand Prix with Mercedes than Michael Schumacher won in his entire career! Pole positions? Nuff said! I see this as a blatant attempt by Ferrari fanatics to stop Hamilton winning an eighth World Drivers Championship, when Ferrari were driving off into the distance did anyone suggest then a reverse grid for qualifying? If you are going to change something so fundamental in F1 at least wait until Lewis Hamilton is given a fair chance to break the record. And don’t forget they’ve already removed the “party mode” from Mercedes, which has made no difference to them but Red Bull have suffered badly.
      As mentioned elsewhere BTCC have a partial reverse grid, they also have ballast for success, they also have races that resemble a demolition derby like in stock car racing. Given the cost of an F1 car and the potential to be 100mph faster than a Touring Car, how does this affect driver safety and budget constraints?
      This idea, to me, is on a par with Barmy Bernie Ecclestone’s idea to move the British GP to April in an attempt to force the government to invest in major infrastructure changes regarding the roads around Silverstone. How many times has it snowed in England in April? A close second to this barmpot idea was double points for the final race of the season, which happened but didn’t affect the championship, fortunately.
      F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motor sport, so why not try the idea but lower down the pecking order. Try it in F3 for example and see if it offers any positive benefits, then the idea can be truly costed in terms of driver safety and car repair costs. F1 should not be used as a Guinea pig!

      Final thoughts:

      This is a blatant attempt by the Ferrari International Assistance to get Ferrari to the front of the grid.

    56. From the midfield point of view, why should we take a small advantage eked our through development and the perfect lap taken away for the show? That doesn’t even benefit the show to swap the McLaren and Renault to put the slower car ahead. For the slowest cars they are going to finish in the back anyway. For Mercedes and verstappen it just means passing slow cars without blue flags.

    57. Andres Satizabal
      21st September 2020, 0:31

      There’s 3 problems that need to be solved
      1. “Purity” – the fastest driver / car should win in the long term
      2. Entertainment – fans need something to look forward to, in every session. Competition and overtaking is usually what makes a weekend.
      3. Parity – there can’t be a huge difference between the fastest driver / car, and different teams need to be able to challenge for a win.

      In practice, most decisions taken by F1’s owners over the past 20 years have attempted to solve 2, but have ended up increasing the “Purity” factor and damaging 2 and 3. 15 of the past 20 years of championships have been won by 3 “dynasties” – Ferrari 2000-2004, Red Bull – 2010-2013, and Mercedes 2014-2020. Yes, some of those were great years for close championships, including 2003,2006-2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016, but more often than not (and for the past 4 years), it is too lopsided.

      There’s many levers that need to be pulled, including technical rules that allow for parity and following cars in turbulent air, budget caps (think Major League Baseball), and more fair prize money distribution that evens the playing field (think Premier League). However, these are often crazy difficult to change, and more often than not have unintended consequences.

      I love this sport, but I know it needs to evolve and attract new fans who bring it money for it to continue in the long term. So, I’m all for trying something different that spices things up. Especially next year which would be another Mercedes / Hamilton dud year again (and I’m a huge Hamilton fan).

      I remember when they tried this new qualifying format. Polls in websites showed a lot of livid fans who called this format a gimmick, and we’re now seeing this again. Let’s give it a shot, we might be surprised. I would take the 5-7 races with the worst rate the race rankings over the past 5 years, exclude Monaco, Hungary and other circuits where overtaking is nearly impossible and where safety would be an issue, and try a a few reverse grid races there. It won’t be perfect, but it may have a chance to add more excitement, draw in new fans, and more importantly, give teams that are already handicapped by budget to be able to have a chance to win. I’d have a million questions about how to make this work and safe for drivers, e.g., are standing starts too dangerous, do you only allow reverse grid for cars that are within a certain range of the fastest cars, how it impacts the championship, how long, etc. I just praise them for trying something.

    58. “Tradition” is not an argument, and yet it seems that’s all most people here, including Keith, have to offer.

      I’ve been watching F1 for 25 years and I just cancelled my F1 TV subscription because it has gotten so stale as of late. With the lack of rule changes for next year, Hamilton is basically guaranteed to be an 8x WDC already. Might as well try something new. I see no intrinsic reason for why the fastest car should start at the front of the grid, just because it has always been done that way.

      1. In pursuit of being the fastest racing category, F1 has long lost sight of being the best racing category.

      2. Tradition is the worst reason to do anything, ever.

      3. As I mentioned in a diferent post, how about giving a handicap to slower cars so everyone in qualy may have a shot at the pole or at least to have a good starting position.

    59. I do not like the reverse grid option, I would propose instead a handicap given to slower cars based on average time difference, this way everyone would be competing equaly for the pole. Some starting positioms may change from the usual order which may also contribute to have a good race. This would help preserve tradition as well.
      Please let me know what you think?

    60. It’s all about Lewis Hamilton.

    61. Should Formula 1 hold a race without a qualifying session?
      Strongly Disagree

      Should Formula 1 hold four races with a new qualifying format?
      Strongly Agree

      This poll was framed way worse than the one on F1’s Fan Voice.

      1. I proposed another poll:

        Should Formula 1 write a holy book so nobody would dare to change its tradition?
        or
        Should Formula 1 declares herself as human so editing her DNA would consider unethical?

    62. Why not do something like Formula E qualifying? Championship leaders go out in group 1 and are slightly disadvantaged (unless it rains or something) then the top 5 (I think) have a superpole shoot out. Its not perfect and I dont 100% like it but better than sprint race qualifying races. Actually if they push this reverse grid quali races through maybe its time for me to switch to Formula E. If it stay’s on the BBC iPlayer ill save a fortune :-)

    63. Heineken or whomever should hang the banner at the FIA headquarter entrance:

      When writing the rules, never drink.

    64. Absolutely it’s a horrible idea. Quali is part of the race, i much prefer the 1 hr 12 lap quali BTW. Also there’s no point in reverse races with cars that simply cannot race

    65. I’ve also heard that sponsors wish to change the format of Downhill Slalom ski races by substituting the snow with sand and the ski’s with big shoes. Sounds just as daft to me as abolishing qualifying as we have known it :-)

    66. Ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as the $200 million entry fee for new teams …..

      1. The fans don’t want F1 to reward failure.

    67. I actually say combine both..
      Give the drivers 30 min open quali session in order to reduce handicap of reverse start, then do the mini race and add both results to have the final grid. Let’s say if you are 1st on open quali you jump 10 places 2nd 9 and so on. 11th 0
      Just brainstorming…

      1. Wow thats actually a pretty good idea. A compromise for everyone.

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