Romain Grosjean, Haas, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

Grosjean not interested in starting reverse-grid qualifying race from pole

2020 Russian Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean doesn’t approve of F1’s plan to introduce reverse-grid qualifying races – even if it means he would get to start from pole position.

The proposal would involve replacing qualifying sessions with short sprint races starting with the drivers in reverse championship order. The result of the races would set the starting grid for the following day’s grand prix.

Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn is keen to introduce the proposal at a limited number of rounds next year. Grosjean is currently last in the drivers’ standings, and would therefore take pole position under such an arrangement.

Even so Grosjean, who has never started an F1 race from pole position, is against the proposal.

“I still don’t like it,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “Even though we’d start on pole, I don’t like it.”

The Haas driver said the standard of competition behind the front-running drivers shows Formula 1 doesn’t need to resort to gimmicks to create good races.

“I think the midfield battle – sorry to say, but once you remove the Mercedes and Max Verstappen – the battle is going on absolutely flat out and it’s mega.

“So I guess the solution for me is somewhere else. We just need to find a solution that the cars are more together in terms of performance.

“Mercedes has been doing an incredible job for many years now and if everything stays the same for next year I still see them being world champions and probably Lewis [Hamilton] being eight-times world champion, which will be very incredible.

“But I think to me it’s more that we need to bring the field together rather than trying reverse grid and things like that. It just doesn’t fit quite what I’ve been growing up with and what I’d like to see in Formula 1.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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6 comments on “Grosjean not interested in starting reverse-grid qualifying race from pole”

  1. Reverse Grid is an amusement park scenario, it’s made up and should not be in F1 which is suppose to demonstrate the best of the best in the world. I would think it would demean the stature and history of what F1 stands for.

    1. I would accept reverse grids if, at the same time, everybody in charge of F1 resign.
      Reverse grid is a confession that nothing can be done to increase competitiveness (different winners) in F1.

  2. This isn’t spec series to keep the grid together, by punishing engineers for their technical innovations.
    F1 killing it’s biggest selling point will also make it irrelevant.

  3. No news about George Russel who change his view from saying ‘it was stupid’ to ‘it would be really interesting and we got to try things’ after he learn what the actual plan is?

    1. @ruliemaulana it’s not exactly unequivocal support that Russell is giving to the idea of reverse races though – you’re giving a very misleading impression of how interested he is in the idea with your post.

      When you look at what he said as a whole, he said his views on the idea of reverse races were still “rather mixed” and that both he and Latifi would still prefer the current qualifying and race format instead, particularly as there was still a notable lack of clarity from Liberty Media on how exactly their idea would work.

      He didn’t use the phrase ‘it would be really interesting and we got to try things’ – after noting that he was still ambivalent about the idea of a reverse qualifying race and discussing a few of the positives and negatives, what he then said was “I’m happy to try things” and then suggested that “maybe we can try it once”.

      He’s not saying “we should definitely do it”, which is what your post would suggest, it was a rather more ambivalent stance that suggested that he wouldn’t completely rule it out, but he was still not particularly enthusiastic about the idea either and still preferred the current set up on balance.

  4. I had not thought about that… Grosjean is a competent driver (even with all his mistakes and the fact that he shouldn’t be racing in F1 anymore), but imagine an scenario where an Alex Yoong or Narain Karthikeyan starts on pole in all the qualifying races of the year.

    We’ve been having great grids with awesome drivers for a while now, without anyone being particularly bad or hopeless like in previous years (the likes of Yuji Ide, Ricardo Rosset), but if that were to happen again, seeing that guy ahead of the pack on absolutely no merit would be bad…

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