Grid, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Is F1’s reverse-grid qualifying race plan for 2021 dead?

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1 has twice tried to win support from teams to introduce reverse-grid qualifying race, and twice failed.

Undeterred, the sport is making a third push to approve the plan for 2021. But the response from some team principals during last weekend’s Russian Grand Prix indicated a third defeat is on the cards.

The plan is the same now as it was 12 months ago. At selected races, instead of a qualifying session, a sprint race would be held, beginning with the drivers in reverse championship order. The finishing positions of that would would set the starting order for the grid.

F1 previously tried to introduce such races for 2020. Under the rules of the time, they needed the unanimous support of the teams to do so, but faced opposition from Mercedes and Racing Point. The proposal was therefore rejected last year and again earlier this year, when F1 pushed for reverse grid races at the second round in the ‘double headers’ which were added to the reorganised calendar post-Covid.

However since then the new Concorde Agreement has been signed, which means unanimity is no longer required to agree changes to the sporting rules. Instead for next year, at this late stage in the season, a ‘super majority’ of votes at the F1 Commission is needed. This means at least 28 out of 30 available votes.

Cyril Abiteboul, Renault, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Abiteboul: “We don’t want to turn Formula 1 into DTM”
As 10 votes are held by F1, 10 by the FIA, and one each by the 10 teams, it seemed reverse grid qualifying races could be introduced over the objections of Mercedes and Racing Point, providing all the other teams supported it.

However, F1’s hopes that would come to pass were were dashed in Sochi.

First McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl made it clear his team were “absolutely not supportive of the idea of introducing reverse grids”. Then Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul strongly indicated his team will also oppose the plan, arguing the new technical regulations planned for 2022 will do more to produce exciting races without resorting to artificial measures.

“I still believe that reverse grids is a great opportunity for mixing things up and offering a show,” he said, “but I still believe it’s an artefact and we should have the ambition of offering exciting races without that artefact.

“We’ve had, again, fantastic races this year. We had fantastic races also last year with lots of things happening without reverse grids. We just need the field to be more competitive. I think that should be the focal point.

“If you have 20 cars within half a second, or a second, that will offer you a great show in my opinion – providing you have the opportunity to overtake. We don’t want to turn Formula 1 into DTM. So, I think that we are near enough 2022 not to have to use that artefact at this point in time.”

Seidl said much the same, arguing that the coming 2022 rules change means it “would be wrong to introduce any artificial randomness” via reverse-grid sprint races.

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It’s hard to avoid the impression both McLaren and Renault have more to lose from the plan now than they did 12 months ago. Both have become regular visitors to Q3, and are locked in a fight for third in the championship with Ferrari, who are usually quicker on race day than they are on Saturday. With the competitive order likely to remain much the same next year, McLaren and Renault would be trading away a significant advantage by supporting the plan.

Restart, Monza, 2020
F1 claimed Monza showed how a reverse-grid race would look
Assuming Mercedes and Racing Point continue to oppose reverse-grid qualifying races, F1 can’t get to the 28 votes it needs to introduce the plan. If more of the team principals paid heed to their drivers’ views on the matter, the plan would be killed stone dead, as their views on the proposal range from indifferent to hostile.

Nonetheless F1 appears to be laying the groundwork for a bid to win teams over to the plan. Two weeks ago it invited fans’ views via a survey the official Fan Voice website.

No opportunity to prod respondents into giving the desired answers was missed. Those who opened the survey had to navigate through various leading questions characterising the eventful Italian Grand Prix as a perfect test case for reverse-grid qualifying races, before getting to the crux of the matter. The fact the proposal would involve dropping qualifying sessions, and thereby ending an unbroken, 70-year-old tradition, was ignored.

A separate poll accompanied the survey. After over 2,700 responses the single most popular answer to the question “do you agree/disagree that reverse-grid qualifying races are something F1 should consider?” was “strongly disagree”. The number choosing from two ‘agree’ options’ only exceeded those who selected the two ‘disagree’ options by 1%. The poll soon disappeared.

Our polls reflect much stronger disapproval for the plan: 68% of readers indicated they “strongly disagreed” with introducing reverse-grid qualifying races, and 71% strongly disagreed with holding races without qualifying sessions (the latter poll remains open).

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Whatever F1’s polls may say, teams are unlikely to be swayed either way if their competitiveness is at stake. Those who have supported the plan seem to see the writing on the wall, and in Sochi were casting about for alternative scenarios, however unlikely, in which the reverse-grid qualifying race concept might be tried.

Wolff and Horner differ over the reverse-grid proposal
“It’s conflicting in many ways,” says Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “The racer in you and the purist says it’s absolutely the wrong thing to do.

“Then of course you see a race a little bit like in Monza and that brings the point to the fore again of mixing things up and obviously the best way of mixing things up is something like a reverse grid. That is artificial but inevitably, when you have the fastest car starting at the front of the race, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that in many cases they will stay in grid order.

“I think that Formula 1 shouldn’t be scared of perhaps trying something different. If there was an occasion or a type of venue or an invitation race or maybe even a non-championship race, that something like that could be tried, it would be very interesting to see what the outcome of it would be.”

The prospect of F1 organising a non-championship race is not on the cards: It hasn’t happened since 1983.

Meanwhile those who oppose the plan suspect the window of opportunity to try it is closing. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, a long-standing opponent and trenchant critic of an idea he likens to “WWE”, is optimistic that the coming appointment of ex-Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali as Formula 1 CEO will safeguard the sport from gimmicks like reverse-grid races.

“He knows the sport inside out,” said Wolff. “I think sport comes first. And he’s going to stay away from, in my opinion, artificial things. He’s a purist.”

It therefore seems decreasingly likely we may one day see a qualifying race with Romain Grosjean on pole position. Not that he’d be disappointed, either.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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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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44 comments on “Is F1’s reverse-grid qualifying race plan for 2021 dead?”

  1. And a good thing if more and more competitors oppose.

  2. 100% sure it will happen. Look how Liberty pushed through their Concorde deal without compromise, and how insistent they have been so far with this idea. Also the ridiculous F1 Fan Voice poll made it perfectly clear no one is supposed to say anything other than reverse grids. And it’s poor Domenicali’s job to insist on it.

    Come on, we all knew what was coming with American owners. It’s not like anyone should be surprised.

    1. @balue Pushed through the Concorde Agreement without compromise? Obviously you missed the first three years of Liberty with the F1 reigns post-BE, for that is all they have worked on and negotiated with and compromised with the teams on from the getgo.

      The Fan Survey? I did it and felt I had ample opportunity to express my opinion on it, which was that I am no longer in favour of the experiment.

      Anyway, I guess you know 100% in spite of the article above from folks much closer to F1 than you, saying that it is less and less likely to happen as of last weekend’s revealing of other teams that are against it.

      1. @robbie

        “..not least commercial rights holder Liberty Media, which had consistently stated that there would be no negotiations and that effectively what had been presented as draft last November was, save for a few legal clarifications, the final document.”

        “There were no side negotiations,” a Liberty insider told RaceFans, adding that [Liberty CEO Chase Carey] has consistently been clear on that point. Another Liberty source said that “The only compromise was that Mercedes had compromised by agreeing to sign without compromise.”

        This was underscored by Christian Horner, who in an exclusive interview last week stated, “We just didn’t negotiate, because [Liberty CEO Chase Carey] wouldn’t move. What he put on the table was pretty much what was signed last week; [only] some subtleties have changed.” For that, read ‘legal jargon’.

        About the fan survey, Keith even mentions it here how it was skewed. For example:

        “No opportunity to prod respondents into giving the desired answers was missed.”

        Basically, the reverse grid idea gets voted down, then it becomes an issue again. It’s again voted down, and guess what’s next and what will be the final outcome..

        1. @balue Yes but you do understand do you not that those ’no compromises’ quotes came only after months and months of hammering out the details between Liberty and Brawn and the teams, right? Liberty has only ever involved all the teams, not just the top ones, and in the end they have all agreed on all the key aspects of money distribution, budget caps, and cars able to race closely. As it came down to time for the teams to sign, the vast majority of the details had been signed off on. You are being disingenuous to try to make this sound like this has all been rammed down the teams’ throats. That is not the case and the teams are overwhelmingly on board.

          I can also provide quotes of Horner saying things like that they just need to get on with it and tell is what the new direction is so we can sign off on it.

          As to guessing what’s next? Sounds like from the article above what’s next is that more teams will not agree to reverse grid quali race experiments than we first thought.

          1. @robbie Of course they talked and negotiated, but when push came to shove on the tough points, Liberty just decides, end of. Same pattern is happening now with the reverse grids idea. Liberty yes, teams no, talk, vote. Liberty yes, teams no, talk, vote. Final deadlock? .. I think I’ve made my point.

          2. @balue But your point is wrong because the tough points are the ones they negotiated and compromised over the past three years with the teams. By the time the teams had a deadline and signed off it was down to minutiae, not the big important aspects that were tackled months ahead of time.

    2. 100% sure it will happen. Look how Liberty pushed through their Concorde deal without compromise, and how insistent they have been so far with this idea.

      – pretty sure a lot of compromises were made for the Concorde deal – nobody but Ferrari is haply that Ferrari is getting some historical payments however reduced.

      – as long as at least three teams oppose, it wont happen. They don’t have the votes. They can’t “force through” it, they may sweet talk or make a deal with some of the dissidents but not force it.

      Besides a plan that is (for it to pass) supported by eight out of ten teams can
      hardly be called “forcing through” either.

    3. I’m pretty certain Liberty are not offering Ferrari $10’s of millions for turning up and a veto just like the old agreement because they think it’s a great idea.

  3. I think it probably is dead, and that’s a huge shame. Next year being the last year of these regulations and remaining quite stable would have been the best chance to experiment and try new things. None of them might stick around, some – like that awful qualifying format wouldn’t last longer than a weekend, but just *trying* something new, something different for a little while might be quite exciting.

    I don’t see how F1 can claim to be the ‘pinnacle of motorsport’ if it’s not even willing to attempt something different every once in a while. The sport itself isn’t even the same as it was when it first started, so this absolute resistance to any form of change, adaptation or evolution is really quite strange. I can see us all arguing over ‘what is F1’ while the world moves on and leaves F1 behind.

    1. It does things that a different once in a while (you just gave an example with the quali format, DRS is another example that some of us have had to put up with), but you can’t use that line of reasoning for everything under the sun. To me at least, something that is the ‘pinnacle of motorsport’ shouldn’t resort itself to such tacky gimmicks and work on things that have value at a deeper level. The ‘world moving on’ doesn’t necessarily mean the world of tiktok and crappy gimmicks – there are people out there that still value quality over quantity.

      F1 should keep working on tightening the field by a more equal distribution of wealth and let the field close up naturally instead of this sticky plaster bs. Thankfully the new CA is a step in the right direction in that regard and will produce better racing in the long-term without resorting to these short term gimmicks that values likes on youtube over actual sporting achievement.

    2. @rocketpanda Even though I was all for the experiment, and am less so now, I find your argument strange. You speak to F1’s unwillingness to change when they have all just agreed and signed on to an unprecedented new era post-BE. The change that is around the corner and would have been next year if not for the pandemic, could not be more drastic and necessary. Based on your tone I don’t know what Liberty and Brawn could have possibly done to please you. If doing a complete 180 hasn’t convinced you of their willingness to change, you’re one they were never going to please anyway.

      1. I doubt the changes to the regulations that are coming go far enough to address the issues they claim to be sorting. I hope I’m wrong on that, so we’ll find out in 2022. But I don’t expect a huge shift from what we have now. My irritated tone is less targetted at Liberty/Brawn and more the intense resistance from fans that refuse to even consider the possibility of trying something different. F1 really could do with experimenting with its format and innovating instead of standing still.

        Doing a 180 from considering doing something different in favour of not doing it isn’t really convincing me of their interest in changing anything though. They could please me by addressing the financial and technological disparity throughout the grid so we don’t have teams that are being paid to turn up fighting ones barely managing to stay in buisness and ensure that the cars can actually race each other correctly. Maybe the rule changes will help with some of that but I can’t see it going far enough now. If I’m wrong, I’ll be happy.

        1. @rocketpanda And I can’t see how cars making less wake, with simplified wings, with tunnels underneath to emphasize ground effects downforce vs wing downforce, which in the wind tunnel has shown the trailing car losing a max of 20% of it’s performance vs the 50% they do now, can’t but make a drastic difference to how the drivers will be able to race amongst each other. And as I have opined all along, even if the regs need to be tweaked, they can and will be, but at least they’ll be tweaked from a much better standpoint in terms of potential in the car, as opposed to trying to tweak the aero cars of today for which no amount of tweaking can get them past their huge dependence on clean air. If the unprecedented wind tunnel work Brawn has done, and the drastic new concept the teams have agreed to embark on isn’t going far enough, I’d like to know what you would have done then. Remove their wings completely?

        2. @rocketpanda

          Adam, what is the most popular sport in the world? Football.

          Now, the equivalent in football would be to change from 90 to 60 minutes, have one side with only 9 players, have a sloping pitch, give one side a 2 goal headstart, etc.

          Now ask yourself why football doesn’t feel the need to do that, and why doing it might devalue the sport. That is why some fans including myself have a different point of view to you and why I’m challenging your reasons for making such changes and somehow by not doing so, we’re not keeping up with the times.

    3. @rocketpanda the thing is, we have seen a number of changes in recent years.

      Over the past decade, changes that have been made include the ban on refuelling during races and the system of qualifying with race fuel onboard, before that was then removed, the introduction of the parc ferme system that meant cars had to have the same set up in qualifying and race trim and the associated curfew system, the tightening and then relaxation of the information which could be given to drivers on start parameters in order to introduce more variability into starts, the elimination qualifying system, the use of a race with double points – there has been experimentation with the way that the race weekends have been run and trials of different qualifying formats and race formats, so I wouldn’t agree with the argument that the sport hasn’t tried different things once in a while.

    4. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      1st October 2020, 14:14

      It’s the pinnacle of motorsport because it is F1. It doesn’t “claim” to be. It just is. Like the top of Mount Everest is the highest peak in the world. It just is! Doesn’t mean from a competition or excitement perspective it is the best. Moto GP has seven million overtakes a lap. Indycar oval crashes are spectacular if that’s your bag. Football doesn’t change the pitch shape, goal size, ball, number of players etc. when one team dominates. The rest just get better. F1 doesn’t need to change the racing. It has always been a battle primarily against a stopwatch, fastest wins. What they have already changed is the budget for 2021 and the car regs for 2022. Maybe wait and see before introducing whacky races with jumps and Bernie sprinklers, and 50 points for whoever does the best stunt. Remember the disastrous elimination quali? The double points last race? Most people agree DRS is very artificial. Let the sport be pure.

  4. Funny how everyone keeps using the line “but there will be new cars in 2022, so we shouldn’t….”
    That’s completely missing the point!
    2021 is happening first – and that’s when they are proposing it for. With the current cars.
    I totally agree, F1 shouldn’t be doing it 2022. But I do think they should run a few in 2021.

    The part about leading questions was a bit biased itself, as is every article about reverse grid qualifying here.
    Hardly surprising that different answers came up as more popular on different sites – this is a fan site with only a small number of (generally dedicated and long term) respondents, FanVoice is a research site with a much wider demographic and market reach. How many voted here? A few hundred?

    Whatever, 8 teams will never agree to it while there are engine manufacturer deals in play. Mercedes don’t like it so neither do their customers – because Mercedes says so.
    And even without that political factor, McLaren and Renault are now also regularly in the top half of the tight midfield pack – so of course they won’t want to lose out by starting lower down the grid.

    I sometimes wonder why F1 even bothers including the teams in the administration. They will only ever support what is best for them and never what is best for F1 as a whole. Even if it costs them in prize/commercial payments and sponsorship money.

    1. The argument is to try it out in 2021 with a view for more permanency in 2022 so absolutely it should be taken into account! What’s hard to understand?

      1. When did they ever say that?

    2. Because the teams leaving is considered a bad thing? If F1 don’t include the teams in its decision making, they will leave and find a bunch of other suckers willing to invest hundreds of millions on expensive hybrid engines. So the teams must absolutely have a say. Good luck trying to get the trams to sign the Concorde agreement otherwise.

      That’s also how it works in other sports including football. A lot of decisions within the leagues are taken by the league as a voted by the teams (English football being an example).

      1. No other manufacturer supported series needs a concorde agreement… Plenty of manufacturers in various forms of GT racing.
        They are included in discussions and future planning, but they don’t get to control over it.
        F1’s market share will always keep manufacturers involved, as will having a sensible technical competition, regardless of what that specifically is.
        Ferrari are still there, despite making dozens of threats to quit. Manufacturers naturally come and go anyway.

    3. S, I would question whether the FanVoice system is necessarily an accurate representation of the wider fan community either, in part because of the way that the FanVoice site is set up to encourage individuals with certain patterns of behaviour – it’s very much angling itself at the younger section of the fan base and those who are the most conscious of social media manipulation, given that it offers an incentive system that draws on the tactics of the modern videogame industry with rewards for interaction with social media sites.

      It may have a different set of demographics, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that it is a wider cross section of the wider public – the way that it is set up means that it might well be biased in its case as well, just towards a different target group instead.

      1. I don’t agree with your first paragraph. It’s no more generation-specific than any other part of the internet, or even the internet itself.
        I don’t think giving away the occasional signed book or race tickets screams any louder to one demographic than the rest.
        They are currently running a poll asking which decade viewers started watching F1. The 90’s are currently highest, followed by the 2000’s and then the 80’s. That puts most respondents (so far) in their 20’s to 40’s – pretty normal for a voluntary internet survey these days, I would imagine.

        Simply by numbers and sample size alone, it will almost certainly be a better example than here. 2700 Vs 350.
        And there’s no biased preamble there to warm-up the respondents before the voting section.
        Questions may be slanted in a certain direction, but most people (of all ages) can understand what the survey is for when they fill it in. The heading usually gives a clue.

        And the question referred to was “Is reverse grid qualifying something that F1 should consider” – it wasn’t “Should F1 definitely run reverse grid qualifying races, next year leading to indefinitely?”
        Having a positive response hardly signals the end of F1, or even a positive outcome in favour of reverse grid qualifying races – only that it is something to consider for the future.

        F1 needs a quick fix to keep it watchable until the new cars arrive in 2022, that’s all they are asking.

    4. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      1st October 2020, 14:21

      What is the point of trying it out for a few races in just one season? It either works and is incorporated into the DNA of the sport or it doesn’t and it gets canned. That’s what Liberty / FIA want to do, “trail” it to see if it could be made a regular thing at certain tracks. personally I enjoy watching reverse grids in F2 but do not want them in F1, because it’s not F2!

      1. Because next year the championship ‘fight’ will be boring.
        We all know it.
        Call it a trial, call it an entertainment gimmick, whatever – but F1 desperately needs to do something to get their viewer numbers up next year until the new cars are introduced.

        What’s the difference between using it in F2 compared with F1? It’s either an acceptable sporting/entertainment compromise or it isn’t. Right?
        F2 is no less important than F1 – almost every F1 driver takes that path. Many (most?) viewers recognise that F2 races are way better. Partly due to the car, partly due to the sporting challenge.

        1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
          1st October 2020, 17:44

          The difference is the current F1 cars cant really follow each other. A reverse top 8 would result in Redbull and Merc getting to the front and the rest of the top 8 getting stuck behind each other. It’s effective in F2 because overtaking is easier. For F1 you should start where you qualify because these are supposed to be the fastest drivers in the world and I want to see that. Until the cars can overtake better, reverse grids would just skew the results of who is the better car / driver combination in the midfield.

          1. They will still be the ‘fastest drivers in the world’ (if you believe they are) – plus they’ll also need to show you their skill and racecraft if they want to win.
            There’s no ‘until the cars are better’ because it wouldn’t be needed then. That’s the whole point.
            Nobody wants reverse grid qualifying races – but we do want good, competitive, action-packed, exciting and unpredictable races that fully test every single team and driver to their limits – and a couple of format changes next year may provide those.
            Seriously – it’s only 4 events out of 20+ next year, and then everyone would get their ‘pure’ F1 back in 2022.

  5. Maybe F1 can do another survey which asks the question ‘Would you have liked to see the Sochi qualifying session replaced by a 30 minute race.’

    It always amuses me when companies or other entities decide to survey the people. Totally ignore what they respond with because when they are challenged they can say, ‘well the workforce/customers were consulted’. Which is the very reason they hold the survey in the first place.

  6. Somebody ask Petronas how they feel about the cars they sponsor are at the back of the grid, like a normally bad team of your choice who has sponsorship from the local poodle shampooing business. Companies like Petronas might just step aside with investment money where the investment is subject to a once formidable company now playing games where best is worst and bad is good.
    What in Gods good green earth is the reason for such stupidity?
    That answer is money. It won’t happen it don’t make money. Money money money money money…it’s breeding dumb very dumb ideas from just a few in charge who once dominated the sport now are suggesting moronic ideas. Reverse ideas about reverse grids. Shame on those who promote this.
    Tell all the crappy teams to get off the snide and get better or get lost. Fields without Williams and dare I say Ferrari are not needed. They wait for foolish rules that they can take advantage of and at first those very ideas make something initially seem better than it is.

    Then the reality of a goofy decision comes forward. I’m slowest so I get the pole position. I’m the fastest so I have to start at back of the grid.

    What an awful concept.

  7. In the past chimpanzees ran Formula One. and today the chimps are tired of black car dominance so they have taken away their advantage by creating very solid ideas like reverse grids. But that’s OK because on the monkeys at home have no choice and no voice and will pay to see the next Battle of the screwed up grid. This is utter madness. Look to Indycar if you want solid concepts that produce results fans and investors seek.

  8. I have also heard that other who previously supported the idea within the FIA would now vote against it & that it may no longer even be brought to a vote given how it currently stands no chance of passing.

  9. Then of course you see a race a little bit like in Monza and that brings the point to the fore again of mixing things up

    Seriously? That Monza race was completely useless. If anything it clearly demonstrated the folly in this nonsensical idea.

    I get that the average viewer (and/or Hamilton hater) might not care about the actual sport much and would rather simply see someone else win. Still, just because different names appeared on the podium did not make it a great race. There was a train of cars unable to overtake each other. And then the race ended

  10. Is F1’s reverse-grid qualifying race plan for 2021 dead?
    Jeez, let’s hope so.

  11. I don’t like the Reversed Grid Race idea. Shouldn’t a Qualifying method be based upon merit? The advantage of the current system is you only need to be 1 millisecond faster than another car to be considered better, which is quite a fine filter. I just don’t see that in the proposal.
    Also, the event that seems to have the most risk of crashes occurring is at the start of a race, and I just don’t like the idea of a team spending a vast amount of money and time getting their car ready (often with “a new front wing” or such like), then to have all that hard work destroyed for what is really a secondary session, and then having the mechanics have to rush around and try and get their car race ready (without the new front wing) all over again.

  12. He knows the sport inside out,” said Wolff

    Yeah, but watch out. We said the same about Ross Brawn. And all he did was introduce the utterly meaningless fastest lap point, and he’s been going very strong about qualifying races.

    1. Ross has also talked about us not caring about things we can’t see @fer-no65 and more spec parts. For sure he must be part of the exciting safety car blitz, late-lights-out show and red-flag-fest. He has gone over to the dark side.

      And yes once Stefano is in the F1 inner clique he’ll be strongly influenced.

      But I reckon it’ll be 2023. They’ll leave the 2022 cars with DRS so the racing will all have happened by Lap 5, and then they’ll say “How about reverse grids next year guys?”

  13. Yep, good luck with handicapping engineering innovation to keep the field competitive.
    And if you somehow do it, then dream on selling F1 as the pinnacle of motorsport to any investor.
    ‘Slow’ purists of the bygone century will either learn the hard way or go away like Bernie did.

  14. If reverse grids were introduced as a pilot next year and are deemed to be some sort of success then they could sneak in as a permanent feature from 2022 onwards. Surely it is better and more true to the principles of F1 to see how the 2022 cars get on first before resorting to this poor idea.

    We have to do route cause analysis and ask ourselves why this idea is even being mooted. It is because the races are seen as being unexciting or less interesting than they might be, because only 4 cars at the moment are really in with a chance of victory. So the obvious answer, which has been taken on board already, is to change the cars for the better, all being well. There is no need to resort to reverse grids at this stage. The end.

    1. Right…. But until 2022?
      Next year is looking like a pretty poor proposition, hence the call to spice things up for a few races next year.

  15. If we had an even spread of performance through the field and like for like cars could overtake it might offer what they think it would offer, but the problem is we don’t. There’s a big step from the back of the grid to the midfield, then a big step from the midfield to Red Bull, then a big step to Mercedes.

    So what would happen it’s the midfield would absolutely mug Williams, Alfa Romeo and Haas, and Verstappen, Bottas and Hamilton would likely mug them all. But lead team mates like Hamilton get stuck behind their number twos because like for like cars can’t really pass

    I get it would give exhibition races of unusual grid lineups and results, but that’s not sport. I’d honestly sooner see actual exhibition races where all drivers are stuck in an equal car without all the aero.

    1. F1oSaurus (@)
      1st October 2020, 8:26

      @philipgb Exactly. If the race has enough laps the finish would be VER, BOT, HAM on the podium since there is not enough difference between RB and Merc on race pace for actual overtakes either.

      The midfield would most likely not be able to overtake each other either. And neither would the backmarkers amongst themselves.

      So we’d just have three groups sort of in the same position, but then reversed within their group.

  16. If they’re serious about selling it then have a non championship exhibition race (or two) on back to back weeks with a normal race and no other changes. Prove us all wrong that it’ll not be a complete mess. Trialling such a unpredictable idea in races that could cost someone a championship is madness.

    1. You could never do this in a non-championship event.
      What is there for Mercedes to fight for? What is there for Mercedes to turn up for?

      That’s why they want to (and need to) trial it during the championship! That’s the only time it can be used for both education and entertainment purposes. When every competitor has something to gain and something to lose.

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