Prost ‘will quit F1’ if reverse grid races are introduced

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In the round-up: Four-times world champion Alain Prost says he will stop watching Formula 1 if the series introduces reverse grid races.

In brief

‘I hate reverse grid races’ – Prost

Prost said he supports F1’s decision to experiment with the sprint qualifying race format, but is strongly criticised recent suggestions reverse grid races could be introduced next year.

“I’m very happy about testing things if it’s possible,” Prost told Alpine’s website. “But you need to understand why you want to make these decisions, what is the reason for it.

“Formula 1 has to stay sort of tradition[al], that means the technology and the pinnacle of the automobile sport. We need to understand that the best team has to win because it’s the best, because it’s the spirit and the aim of Formula 1.

“For example the reverse grid, I hate that. I hate that. If they would introduce reverse grid in Formula 1, I think I would quit the sport because I think it’s the worst you can do for the idea of Formula 1. I prefer to have the domination of a team because they have done the best job rather than having that. But I am open. I am very traditionalist.”

The 51-times grand prix winner said he had accepted past changes to the sport, such as increasing the number of points awarded for victories. “I was not very happy because it’s very difficult to compare to what we had in the past.

“But on the other side, I remember in ’82 we all finished about five races in the year and reliability was so poor. Now we have a fantastic reliability. So if you have only the first six cars getting points it could happen that some teams never have points so you have to adjust also in a way.”

Ferrari still pushing for reverse grid races

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is among those pushing hardest for the introduction of reverse grid races. He described the sprint qualifying format trial as “a positive experiment” overall with clear room for improvement.

“If you look at the view of the entire week, obviously not looking at a single day, but as overall in terms of the weekend having already some action on Friday I think is positive. So overall I think we should judge it positively.

“How can we improve it? Obviously there are some ideas, as the reverse grid. If not, that’s one of the issues that there will be other discussions or ideas that may come up through the F1 Commission with F1 and FIA and other team principals. So I’m fully open-minded.

“I think what we need is to honestly consider that as an overall positive experiment so far that still can be improved. Let’s see what can be the better ideas compared to the one I suggested.”

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Comment of the day

Guanyu Zhou is the sensible choice for Alfa Romeo, says Juan:

Of the F2 drivers, it’s really between Piastri and Zhou. Pourchaire looks to have great potential, but needs a bit more experience and consistency.

Piastri is a massive talent who has incredible raw speed. He could easily end up as being one of the very elite. Zhou is also quick and has matured into one of the best wheel-to-wheel racers in the sport, able to place his car for an overtake in unexpected corners and capable of very intelligent defence when necessary. Either one would be an excellent choice, but Sauber’s funds, or lack thereof, mean that Zhou is the better choice for the team.

It would, however, be a shame for Piastri if he wins F2 but cannot get an F1 drive and so got kicked off the FIA treadmill. Hopefully F1 teams will have to run a rookie in at least one of their cars on Fridays and he would surely get a drive for Alpine. We would then get to see how he compares to Ocon and Alonso.

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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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89 comments on “Prost ‘will quit F1’ if reverse grid races are introduced”

  1. We need to understand that the best team has to win because it’s the best, because it’s the spirit and the aim of Formula 1.

    Exactly right! The problem I see with a Reversed Grid Sprint Race is the winner could easily be someone other than the best driver & best team combination. The ability to overtake on a particular track will influence the outcome of the sprint race. I don’t see the outcome of such a sprint race as being one where the achievement was based purely on merit.

    1. The problem I see is the Liberty doesn’t care about the sport.
      They introduced sprint racing, which is not helping the sport in any way. 3 sprint races of 100kms each, equals a race distance worth of stress on limited car parts. And all for nothing. The distance is too short for any strategies. The whole reason of introducing DRS was because it was not possible to overtake, taking advantage of other factors like cold or worn out tires etc. And now they are doing a 100km dash following each other and complaining that they cannot overtake. And of course Brawn then makes a Surprised Pikachu face.
      They introduced 23 races in a season so tightly packed that I’m now sure a lot of F1 staff is going to experience burnt outs. F1 specifically asked for reduced back to back racing weekends, and F1 listened to them patiently and went ahead with 3 of them next year.
      They introduced a netflix series DTS, which now portrays F1 like it is a reality show. I’m not against it, but last season we saw they tried to show Lando and Carlos were enemies when they weren’t, which was purely for drama.
      Liberty doesn’t care about the sport. They care about turning this into a profitable business. AND, if reverse grids make the races exciting and bring in profits, they will introduce it. It has nothing to do with the integrity of the sport.

      1. @hatebreeder living up to your handle there eh mate?
        Sprint races are great in my opinion. We get another race start which is often one of the highlights of the weekend. It also means less predictability at the cost of a practice session that nobody watched or cared about (except for data engineers).
        Its the right move. I am not against trying out reverse grids either. More on track action, though if eventually cars performances get more even then we might not need a reverse grid.
        We are some time away from that pipe dream thouhg, so for now, yeah lets do a Print reverse grid, bring it on!

        1. Coventry Climax
          20th September 2021, 10:23

          Even if the avatar is a bit awkward, I fully agree with @hatebreeder, and think your ‘arguments’ being all for it are debateable, to say the least.
          But as for a “Print reverse grid”, I’d say: if that’s what you’d like to have on paper, then what are you waiting for!

        2. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend Haha, no the handle is from that time of my life when I lived and breathed Children of Bodom. Now I cringe when I look at it. :D

          I want to love Sprint Races, because as a concept it is a great thing. But in practice it is not changing anything. It is just adding another 100kms to the existing 300kms. I fail to see what F1 sprint racing introduced which “Improved” racing. I absolutely hate the idea that the practice sessions are reduced. F1 cars are track focussed prototypes designed to race on a variety of tracks. They are not road cars with slicks. And there is no “One setup works for all” formula there. They need time to tune in. Cutting that time means Liberty thinks that F1 is a driver driven sport and they are challenging the driver’s ability to get accustomed to the track. But drivers already know the tracks like the back of their hand. Practice sessions are for tuning the vehicle to max out its ability to perform at its best on the track. What is the point of reducing that time? By pointing out that nobody watched or cared about practice sessions and hence it is okay to reduce it, you confirmed my point that F1 is about making money to Liberty. It has nothing to do with the sport.

          If one is penalized for being the best on the grid, I think there is a fundamental problem with the sport. Ross Brawn says he wants to bring “excitement” to the sport. I am sure if this was mentioned during the 2000-04 era, Brawn would’ve been flying off the handle because Ferrari was the best in the sport then. Performances will never get even. That is the whole point of Formula 1. Different manufacturers interpret the rules given to them and try to design their own version of a prototype. Somebody will always be ahead. F1 is an engineering sport. Racing is only a part of it. For just pure driver and car action, there’s always F2, F3 and Indy.

          Also, since your dp is Keep calm and watch MotoGP, I’m sure you followed yesterday’s race. Bastinini finished 3rd with a 2 year old Ducati. No reverse grids. The gap there between factory and satellite is very small. I’m sure F1 can figure out a better way to handle this.

          1. @hatebreeder
            Fair enough mate, I think we will just have to agree to disagree, wont we. I fundamentally disagree with a couple of points you raised.
            For example your view that Sprint race isnt changing anything. I think it is. You just have to look at the last one. Lewis got a terrible start in the Sprint, which meant he started Sunday behind Verstappen, changing the complexion of the race.
            I also fundamentally disagree with your point that losing a practice session is bad. I dont think it is. It just means that with less 1 practice session the teams will have less data to work with, for example long running performance on a specific type of tyre, which in turn means they will have to make more decisions on the fly on Sunday. And we the fans benefit from less predictable races.
            One thing we can agree on though. If in the future F1 manages to reduce the gap between small and large teams like we have with MotoGP, then none of this reverse grid conversation needs to happen. Bastianini rode like a man possessed yesterday and rightfully took the win.
            Ultimately we want to see competition and the best driver/team on that particular day winning. F1 has got some work to do to make that happen.

          2. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend
            Absolutely. let’s agree to disagree. We can both go back and forth on our views, but in the end we want Formula 1 to be exciting. As long as we get it, whichever way it is!

        3. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend
          I respectfully disagree. We should be (though unlikely this year) be getting 24 race starts plus extra race starts when a red flag is shown. How many race starts do we need? Sprint qualifying messes with statistics of the sport, for example Bottas crossed the chequered flag first last weekend but has yet to score a victory this year, Gasly qualified 6th in Qualifying yet qualified last. Hamilton got pole in silverstone yet it doesn’t count in his rostrum of statistics. These are things I hate about it, I like records to make sense and no we have starting on pole being different than qualifying on pole.

          What annoyed me last weekend is seeing Pierre 6asly being p6 again and that then meaning nothing for the race as the sprint undoes it. It is an extra event that creates a huge risk to undo the hard work in qualifying and makes qualifying a less exciting part of the weekend, plus it is an important part of the race weekend that can now be missed due to work commitments for those who are Mon to Fri people

          1. I meant 23 race starts

          2. Bottas crossed the chequered flag first last weekend

            This is an insult to whichever driver passed the finish line first at the end of the FP1 session :P

            And complaining about Gasly’s starting position is a bit thick as it was his own mistake and Bottas was worse off and could partly blame the PU manufacturer.

          3. Sprint qualifying messes with statistics of the sport

            Oh no. We can’t have that….

            Bottas crossed the chequered flag first last weekend but has yet to score a victory this year, Gasly qualified 6th in Qualifying yet qualified last. Hamilton got pole in silverstone

            They were qualifying sessions. They don’t count as races because they officially aren’t races.
            And also officially – Pole Position is first slot on the race start grid, not the fastest in qualifying. There are also other reasons for these to not be the same – grid penalties, for example.

            I like records to make sense

            Statistics can be interpreted in many ways. Many other ‘records’ in F1 aren’t completely representative either.
            What about all the people who qualified fastest in Friday Qualifying in decades past but got nothing? Is that any different?

            What annoyed me last weekend is seeing Pierre 6asly being p6 again and that then meaning nothing for the race as the sprint undoes it

            He crashed! If it had been the first lap of the GP instead he’d have retired on lap one and got nothing at all from the weekend. Instead… uh…. well, he didn’t have a very good race either, did he?
            But, equally, that could have happened even without the sprint.

          4. What annoyed me last weekend is seeing Pierre [Gasly] being p6 again and that then meaning nothing for the race as the sprint undoes it.

            @broke1984 It must have been a very frustrating weekend for AlphaTauri because they left Italy without any points. It is possible even Yuki’s problem arose because of the Sprint Race. As Terry (@hatebreeder) said up above, every Sprint Race puts wear and tear on the cars. I would much rather drivers did complete the Sprint Race, but I could quite understand if they chose to retire after the first lap and took the pain of starting last.

        4. It’s easier to just redflag every race after lets say 10 laps, or 100km done by the race leader. Then do whatever needs to be done in pits, lets say 10 minutes, and then do a standing restart. There you have your 2 starts in every weekend. Sounds rediculous? But its what liberty is trying to do with the sprint (its not a) race

          1. @s @jff. Instead of calling me thick, how about you have a profile that can be replied to and we can exchange our opinions in a constructive and un-insulting manner. My reasons for not liking sprint qualifying are perfectly valid

          2. @broke1984
            You can reply to me anytime you like.
            Indeed your reasons and opinions are valid, as are mine. We are allowed to differ.

        5. So you think giving teams and drivers less chance to prepare is better racing? Ok, lets just tie one hand behind the back of the better drivers and then let them race and have a laugh and be thrilled and entertained watching that? How about not giving the likes of Tsunoda & other jr drivers a chance to get better without practices?

          How does that create the pinnacle and best racing possible in Motor racing? It makes no sense other than to suit some viewers boredom. How does innovation get improved when not able to fine tune and optimize.
          In what world is it better not to study, research and practice to be the best?

          Sorry mate, you make no sense with your logic other than your bored and want a spectacle to entertain yourself and have no desire to watch a true competition.

    2. It needs to be Reverse Grid Sprint Qualy, not a race. The fastest guys being fastest on their way to the front! The slowest guys at the front doing everything they can to keep the others behind. I’d love to see it tested.

    3. Best, or richest?

  2. “We need to understand that the best team has to win because it’s the best, because it’s the spirit and the aim of Formula 1.”

    I’m in total agreement with this.

    This is not some middle school game, where everyone gets the chance to be up front and play. It’s even worse if done to entertain people who can’t appreciate motorsport racing and instead want a spectacle show. This is F1, the pinnacle & Olympics of motorsport racing; the reason why you’re in the front is because you’ve earned it and it wasn’t given to you..

    Thats like giving slower, less talented athaletes a head start at the Olympics. Even in pro golf tournaments they don’t hand out extra swings to newbies and less talented.

    1. @redpill I could imagine Liberty in the early 90s. “Yes, you all can race here, even if you’re 10s slower in one lap. That’s ok. It will produce more drama!”

      1. @qeki

        They could then brag about how there was a ton of overtaking on the track :)

  3. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    20th September 2021, 5:12

    I agree with Prost. But remember when people thought sprint races weren’t suited for F1? And here we are, 2 down, with another one coming up, talks of more being conducted next year, a grand slam champion and whatnot. Likewise, reverse grids will likely be next on LM’s agenda once this sprint race business has been taken care of.

    1. I really dislike the idea of reverse grids , because it would not be fair and reasonable and the same for everyone.
      F1 is suppose to be a sport, not a Barnam and Bailey show.
      If you remove those regularly at the front or the back, you’re left with those 3 or so in the middle, say from position 9 to postion 11, and for them there would be very little change, with postion 10 having no change.
      So what’s the point ? and it appears to be ill thought through by the so-called experts who allegedly run F1.
      If they want to make races more interesting why not redesign parts of certain tracks so that multiple racing lines can be used.
      In general, in the past car were smaller, lighter and slower yet the tracks have more or less stayed the same for the much faster, heavier and larger cars.

    2. If they introduce reverse grid races, won’t teams just not push very hard in qualy so that they go into the race in the midfield?

      And isn’t the only way to avoid the above to hand out points for qualy?

      1. Yes, becomes like the dubious BOP at LeMans where teams hold back performance so rivals are punished then a double whammy at race time when unleash full potential v hamstring rivals. F1 teams are the kings of shenanigans, they’ll add 100kg ballast and full tanks for quali, want to be last out so they can guarantee being slow enough for reverse grid pole, it would be a farce.

      2. If they introduce reverse grid races, won’t teams just not push very hard in qualy so that they go into the race in the midfield?

        No – nobody would introduce a system that could be so easily played that way.

  4. why Formula 1 teams are trading for less than a billion dollars, in some instances significantly less, in a sport that is globally bigger…

    At the end of the day value is decided by the investors. If nobody invests you can feel like you have the most valuable product in the world, but it doesn’t mean anything.

    Markets are also fragmented, having globally bigger reach doesn’t isn’t necessarily better than having a smaller market which is more easily targetable by advertisers – other sports can target a particular demographic down to a very city. Also, it has to be said, the combustion engine issue. It’s been beaten to death but F1 is kind of doubling down on combustion saying that it’s not going anywhere any time soon. Meanwhile many national governments are saying it is… Bit of a disconnect there.

    Also there’s quite big risk. F1 has changed hands only recently, not only from an ownership perspective but also in terms of leadership. Who knows what that will even mean in the years to come, in relation to providing a fair and stable competition. At the end of the day he’s right, solving the massive expenditures of recent years will increase the value, but F1 still has a lot more problems to solve compared to a national basketball or football competition where all that’s needed is a ball, a court and some fair referees.

    Ofcourse his quotes make a great marketing pitch though. (Who would have thought?)

    1. @skipgamer, there is also the fact that F1 teams, unlike other sports, only get to keep about 6% of the revenue they generate, after LM take their share and divide what’s left between 10 teams.

      1. @hohum if you want an even distribution amongst 10 teams, then the most any individual team could take, even if you went to the theoretical extreme of giving 100% of the revenue to them, would be 10%.

        1. @ANON, I was not calling for an even distribution, merely averaging the potential revenue for investors to calculate the potential worth of a team after taking the cost of competing into account.
          @jff, I have no idea of how football/rugby/basketball etc. distribute their revenue but I very seriously doubt they let the organisers keep 60+% of the total revenue, nor do they need to build a new stadium every year.

      2. That’s quite impressive, so they get a higher percentage than most Premier League teams.

  5. Prost: 👍
    Binotto: 👎

  6. Well said Prost, he is The Professor after all !
    Totally agree; I am all for having a spectacle but this has to come through cars that are able to race and skillful drivers and not through some stupid gimmick like DRS, Reverse grids etc. This should be the pinnacle of motor sports not Super Mario Kart.

  7. Because it is a stupid gimmick that punishes teams for being successful and rewards mediocrity.

    Also given the front cars are MILES quicker than the midfield, there won’t be any “racing”, it would just be frontrunners making easy DRS passes

    1. @jeff On most circuits, they can also pass outside DRS zones without a struggle.

    2. On hard circuits to overtake like hungary that wouldn’t be the case!

    3. Coventry Climax
      20th September 2021, 10:28

      With the ridiculous part being also, that in normal races, those to be overtaken are given the blue flag, and thus ordered to make room. If you, FIA, Liberty, want quicker cars to really overtake the slower ones, then do away with the blue flag in normal races first, please.

      1. The B teams will block their A teams rivals, or a driver may hate another driver, and let his rival pass easy and block the one he hates, cant get rid of the blue flags for these reasons.

      2. As much as I’d like blue flags to mean what they mean in almost every other series (faster car behind you – rather than F1’s get out of the way or be penalised) they do only apply when lapping – not for position.
        Manufacturer team politics has more power than blue flags do in positional ‘battles.’

        1. Coventry Climax
          20th September 2021, 15:18

          As if I don’t know what blue flags mean. You choose to not understand (or even read?) what I’m saying, and turn it into a ‘but they …’ narrative. End of discussion.

          1. I’ve read it 4 times now. It definitely seems you don’t know about blue flags…
            What discussion? You don’t ever seem to actually want one – but rather just blast your old-fashioned opinion out loud.

  8. Well, I totally disagree with Prost, and seemingly most of the people here…

    We need to understand that the best team has to win because it’s the best, because it’s the spirit and the aim of Formula 1.

    I absolutely think this applies to the championship, but it does not have to apply to the sprint race (which is not a Grand Prix).

    Fundamentally, F1 has become more boring over the years because of huge advancements in reliability and predictability. We would all like to see more wheel-to-wheel racing where the best drivers have to actually race their rivals (rather than just disappear at the front) and overtaking is done on track (rather than just through pit-stop strategy), and a reverse grid sprint race would be a great way to achieve this.

    The specific set-up I would like to see would be something like:

    Saturday morning qualifying – as per current structure
    Saturday afternoon sprint race – reverse championship grid, 1/3 GP distance, 1/3 GP points awarded
    Sunday GP race – grid from qualifying

    Parc ferme rules to apply from start of Quali, so front runners have to balance car set-up between single lap pace, and overtaking ability.

    Fundamentally over a championship, you would absolutely still have the “best team/driver” winning, BUT in order to maximise their performance, drivers need to perform as well as possible in the sprint race, overtaking their rivals on track.

    1. @hufggfg A decent format suggestion.

    2. In fact, just to bring a bit of tradition in to it, I’d suggest the sprint race uses the old 10/8/6/5/4/3/2/1 points allocation :)

    3. Just would prefer 1 change:
      Saturday afternoon sprint race – reverse championship grid, 2/3 or full GP distance. 1/3 GP points awarded.

      Having a longer distance would add some strategy element and allow for longer time duration for the guys in back to get in the front. But keeping lesser points keeps the value of the GP high.

      Imagine if we have just 1/3rd length reverse championship grid race in Monaco, Haas will end up with 14 points and may even overtake Alfa Romeo / Williams in eventual standings.

      1. Yes that’s a good point.

        I was thinking of a shorter race so that it didn’t require any pit stops to ensure that overtaking was done on track, rather than in pit-stop strategy, but it’s probably a balance to get it right.

        That said, Monaco is a bit of an aberation… But maybe because of how hard it is to overtake I’d be REALLY interested to see what a reverse grid did… but it’s probably not actually a good idea there :)

        1. Verstappen showed in 2018 that you can overtake plenty of cars at monaco with the best car.

    4. @hufggfg I’m all for advancement and better racing and more racing when it makes sense. I love it when I get to watch both F2 and F1 on the same weekend on the same track (if my weekend time allows it).

      The sprint race at first thought sounded like a really cool idea and we would get to see more racing but as mentioned above it’s what’s happening on the track with F1 cars (or lack of) that especially effects the spirit of a sprint race. Overtaking and making strategic moves takes much longer longer than it use to and there’s less opportunities in a normal length race than there use to be. I believe this boredom/less action has been the core reason why sprint racing was brought up to spice things up but then then the issues of the normal length races will be just exacerbated even more in a sprint race making it even less sense. Personally I think one major issues is that the present F1 cars have become too big physically on older racing tracks that haven’t changed in size. The two have become out scale with each other. Plus modern F1 cars barely need to slow down, turns on many tracks now a days are no longer considered turns, the cars no longer need to slow down for them, they go through them flat out and bigger cars now have less spots to overtake. It’s been more and more of a parade, especially on tracks like Monaco, Hungary, Zandvoort….etc. These tracks have provided excellent racing with smaller, slower car series. F3 at Zandvoort was good racing and lots of overtaking took place.

      If F1 could solve the problems being plagued in normal races then the sprint races will make much more sense (in my opinion). Right now I think no matter what creative way, combo or multiple race scenario made for a weekend (especially reverse grid) it’s still not going to bring back the action until the matters above are addressed.

      Sadly, I don’t think there’s any silver bullet that will fix this.

      1. I very much agree with a huge amount of what you’re saying here. I’m hopeful that the 2022 regs will make a big difference to the ability of cars to follow each other closely and overtake. I agree with you that slightly narrower cars would be good on some of the tracks, but then there are others where the track already seems too wide.

        Also, I totally agree that there’s no silver bullet to “solve” F1.

        That said, making close racing and overtaking easier would just make me more keen to see reverse grids. Fundamentally, I like the idea that the sport strongly rewards race craft. At some level I do see the attraction of spec cars for this reason, but I also enjoy the technical side of teams pushing the boundaries, so I’d actually prefer to see technical rules that allowed for more variety.

        So, as before, I’m a big believer in a reverse grid format (as long as it’s done sensibly, meaning that the incentive at all times is for drivers to do the finish with the best result they can), it doesn’t mean I think it’s the only thing that should be done, but it would be a great addition to the championship.

        1. @hufggfg Sadly have to say that I think next season will be far from being a competitive tight grid compared to this season. This season has been some of the tightest racing that F1 that has not seen in many years, look at the time spread in quali. This is because of several seasons of evolution with locked rules for tech allowing teams just to focus on refining, resolve and tighten up their packages against other teams. The gaps between each other are much closer than it has been but also has been too hard to pass with current aero package but hopefully that will change.
          Next season will be a whole new ball of wax. I predict big gaps between teams & cars next season, cars being way more spread apart; making a reverse grid & sprint even less sense.
          I’m also predicting pit strategies & stints will be all over the place between teams until they learn more about the new chassis and new wheels so that will be interesting to see. I’m predicting it will take a couple of seasons before we see a large number of teams close the gaps between each other like we do now but I hope I’m wrong.

  9. So Hamilton randomly went to a supermarket in Austria last year. Not the first thing you’d expect.

    I’m generally against anything that punishes success, so in this regard, I’m against the reverse grid idea.

    1. I really don’t understand this “punishes success” arguement.

      I mean, I get that if you reverse the Quali grid and then use the the Sprint finish to start the GP that would be utterly ridiculous (because teams would purposefully try to go slowest in Quali), but if you use the reverse championship suggestion as many have made (and maybe the weekend structure I’ve proposed above), then fundamentally you’re completely rewarding success, you’re just also introducing an element that forces overtaking, and handicaps drivers in accordance with their championship position (but, it still absolutely rewards “success” at every point).

      1. Yes, I agree with this.

      2. But you’re NOT rewarding success!

        By its very definition – even using your own format – it penalises success as the teams that are ahead in the Championship ON MERIT start at the back of the grid for the Sprint Race.

        The best and fairest way of running the Sprint Race would be for every driver to use the same type of vehicle. Manufacturer superiority would go out of the window; the best drivers (not cars) would win points; and if the drivers crashed it wouldn’t effect their chances in the actual race the next day.

        Obviously the cost would be off-putting but with this format you could run a Sprint Race at every circuit rather than selectively.

        1. Yes, but the Sprint Race would still be a minor part of the weekend, with minor points. Effectively you’re just handicapping everyone in accordance with their championship position, AND you’re introducing a reward for being successful at overtaking.

          LOADS of different sports have some form of handicapping those that are most successful (many motorsports, but also things like the NFL draft do exactly that). In most scenarios it just increases the sporting competition. I think that’s particularly true in motorsport, where the nature of qualifying is that by being the fastest car, you then don’t actually have to “race” anyone, which has made F1 pretty boring over the last few years.

          I should add that there are absolutely versions of success handicapping that I hate, mostly when it’s done subjectively, such as the “balance of performance” process used in GT racing. When it’s done objectively and is part of the rules of the championship (as has been suggested for F1), then I think it works well.

          And it really doesn’t create anying “fake” or “artificial”… unless you consider that all rules in motorsport make it “fake” or “artificial”. The rules are the rules, everyone has to obey them, and the winner of the championship is the person that does so most successfully.

        2. Coventry Climax
          20th September 2021, 15:22

          “The best and fairest way of running the Sprint Race would be” not running it at all.

    2. I’m generally against anything that punishes success, so in this regard, I’m against the reverse grid idea.

      Excellent, then you have no problem with reverse grids in F1 – because they wouldn’t be punishing success, they would be providing entertainment and creating a competitive challenge for all entrants.

      It is perfectly feasible to assume that the fastest teams could still make their way to the front and win the GP.
      BOOM – there it is! Success earned on merit, on the track, right in front of the audience and under racing conditions.
      It doesn’t get any more pure than that in F1.

      1. S I think the problem arises when you consider it ‘pure’ to reverse the grid just so we can see passes for the sake of passes. Sure I hear you about providing entertainment and creating a competitive challenge, but it’s rather gimmicky no? And is that not the reason why the teams rejected this already? I think we stand a better chance of pure racing when they bring out the new cars next year that can actually race amongst each other. I predict this vague new talk of reverse grids that seems to really only be coming from Binotto and one of his drivers, will fade away as soon as we see the new cars racing in anger. Reverse grids is only a topic because of the processional cars we have now, and the imbalance of power amongst the teams. The new cars will take care of the processions, and over the next coming short years the budget caps and the better money distribution should start to make for a much livelier F1 with many more players in with a shout.

        1. Indeed @robbie, the cars are the problem with F1 and are exactly the reason that reverse grids keep coming up.
          The thing is that the cars have been the problem in F1 for decades now, despite all the promises of having better ones every few years but then never actually being substantially better. Worse, mostly, and even when they have been better it’s not been for very long.
          I understand the physics, science and engineering going into the next set of cars, and sadly that’s why I don’t share your boundless enthusiasm for them.
          I would like nothing more than to see F1 not need ‘artificial gimmicks’ to make the racing better, but the fact is that it does – and it needs them more and more as time passes. Apart from that – even with theoretically perfect racing cars, sporting/format changes provide a whole extra dimension to any racing series anyway.
          Basically I see reverse grids as a threat that if the cars won’t solve the problem, then it’s an incentive to make sure they do. I just don’t have any faith that they will solve the problem, because it’s F1 and solving problems isn’t their thing. Distractions, on the other hand, are their speciality.

          The teams will reject whatever they think will not help them. The participants of any series will rarely do what’s best for it holistically anyway, as they are primarily self-concerned. Most would rather leave a series than do anything to assist their competitors for the greater good.

          1. I don’t see anyone using reverse grids as a ‘threat,’ as they have been rejected by the teams. As to your last sentence, that flies in the face of what has happened in F1 since Liberty took over and hired Brawn. They indeed have rallied the teams together who have agreed to these new cars as well as the budget caps and the better money distribution. Doesn’t makes sense for you to say “Most would rather leave a series than do anything to assist their competitors for the greater good.” when indeed they have stayed and have agreed to assist their competitors. It’s like you have forgotten that this is no longer the BE era and that changes are afoot.

          2. We have very different perspectives on what is happening in F1, @robbie.

            $200m ‘anti-dilution’ fees, complete lack of new teams, stubborn and self-protective manufacturers, and the series increasingly resorting to sporting ‘gimmicks’ to make it interesting…. That’s just since Liberty took over.
            That doesn’t sound like positive progress to me.

            You and I both know that the budget cap is necessary to maintain even 10 teams in F1. And Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari went into into kicking and screaming – soon realising that they’d have massively reduced income if the series continued to spiral downwards. And they compromised on that too, though – still leaving those big wealthy teams with massive advantages over the smaller ones.

            I can assure you, I have certainly not forgotten that Bernie is no longer running it – but it’s hard to argue that it has drastically changed for the better since he was replaced. Changed – yes. Improved? Well, just take a look at this and similar articles and their comments sections…

          3. S Sure, different perspectives, but also different attitudes. For example you’re just looking at the number $200mill and seem to be assuming that is a bad thing. In fact there are solid reasons for this, as well it is not written in stone that a new entrant would have to pay that much, and they will earn that money back over a reasonable amount of time. It’s there to protect the existing teams too, and that’s encouraging for them.

            Complete lack of new teams? How about giving it some time. Liberty has only really just gotten started, since so much of what they want to do has taken time to formulate, with the teams’ help, and contractually they have moved as fast as they can, while wanting everyone as on board as possible. We have barely had a chance to see the budget caps and the better money distribution take effect, and of course the cars could not have come sooner than 2022, and would have been this year but for the pandemic.

            Stubborn and self-protective manufacturers? That’s nothing new.

            Series increasingly resorting to sporting ‘gimmicks?’ How many, really? How ‘detrimental,’ really?

            ‘Kicking and screaming’ is your way of describing it. In reality, of course teams are always going to look out for their own best interests, and Brawn mentioned that in practically his first comments upon getting his job and describing the changes they needed to make. It was actually a reality that the teams knew was necessary, and your ‘kicking and screaming’ was actually just negotiating and ultimately agreeing. Compromised? Sure, that just shows that the teams have some power too and that Liberty and Brawn were not looking to just take a dictatorial stance. They want the teams on board and the teams have been.

            Changed? Yes
            Improved? Not yet. That would be unreasonable to expect when Liberty’s and Brawn’s moves could only just contractually take place starting last year and the effects have barely begun to be noticed. Liberty took over and they deserve their day in the sun, but that day has not happened yet. Let’s see the new cars race in anger. Let’s see the budget caps and the better money distribution take hold. Let’s see how the new pu discussions go and in the next few years let’s see what new entities might want to join F1. That it hasn’t happened yet is not a surprise. The way BE left F1 to Liberty it would only make sense for no new teams to really be interested until they see Liberty’s plans really coming to fruition, and as I say those days are still ahead. They certainly weren’t interested in joining BE’s last 10 years of CVC money grab. Now the new kids are in town and they deserve the time to have their plans come through, for they are the ones that stepped up and hung it all out there and took over.

            When we take a look at this and similar articles, keep in mind that F1 is still quite affected by the BE era, including the cars that cannot race closely and are the reason there is talk of more excitement needed, and Sprint Qualifying etc etc. I think much is about to change once the new cars provide a much better show on the track. I think much will snowball from there.

  10. Stephen Higgins
    20th September 2021, 11:21

    Anyone else wish Prost had been given Domencialli’s role ??

    1. He’d still be in the same position – with the primary goal of maximising viewership, sales and profit.

      Does anyone actually think that any F1 Commercial Rights Holder or their executive staff would put ‘sport’ above money?

      1. The romantic dna defending commenters on this site want to believe that.

        I’m not a sure if a sprint race will add to the show/sport, and am glad they’re testing various formats before deciding how to go ahead.

        I do though want to see Hamilton and Verstappen more often fighting through the field rather than just driving off and managing their pace.
        If there is a ‘fair’ way of doing reversed or mingled grids then I would be all in favour. In some sports you have the disadvantaged starting position when you’re leading (hint in previous sentence).

        1. I’m not sure they are ‘testing’ different formats. When Ross Brawn was interviewed before the Monza sprint, he said, ‘we will look to improve it for next year.’ Not, ‘we will decide if it has been a success after the three-part trial has finished and then decide if we should keep it for next year.’ Ever since they were announced, sprint races have been here to stay, whether the fans like them or not.

  11. Clearly those that spout on about how great a reverse grid sprint race would be don’t watch much F1.
    If they did, they’d realise that even when there was huge disparity between the top 4 cars and the rest of the field, those top 4 cars weren’t able to just easily whiz past the midfield cars.
    Sure they passed the absolute back markers but once they got to about p14, they really had to rely more on the person in front making it easy for them than they did on pure racing because the person in front didn’t want to impact their own race plan.
    A sprint where drivers actively defend their position is a whole different story – look at any race where (say) Hamilton or Max has had to come through a field – once the person in front starts defending, they have extreme difficulty in passing and have to waste a heap of laps (and tyres) doing so.

    It’s bad enough that we have to endure this ridiculous farce they’ve introduced this year let alone even consider adding a gimmick called reverse grid.

    For those people that are desperate for reverse grid racing, it already exists. It’s called F2.

    I have a solution for the promoters that don’t think they’re providing enough “action” for paying punters – get off your lazy backsides and organise a decent schedule of support races instead of some of the extremely ordinary stuff I’ve seen. Melbourne sets a pretty good example with the Supercars on the bill, as so those that host F3 and F2 races on theirs.

    1. Is 35 years of F1 enough to form my own opinion, @dbradock? Or do I have to conform to yours?
      If those top 4 cars can drive right through the field, then why not let us watch them do it? They’ll probably have a bit of a battle with each other along the way, and we’ll all see something slightly better than it is now.
      All that changes is the starting order, anyway – nothing else.
      If they can’t get past P14, then they won’t score points in that race – someone else will and then they’ll be ‘penalised’ for their success instead. Over a season it all balances out until at the end the champion is the one with the most points overall, which would almost certainly still be one of those 4 fastest cars.
      Depends on whether you watch car racing for the results or the actual racing itself.

      Yes, reverse grids are in F1, and they are great. It’s a big part of why F2 and F3 races are far more interesting to watch than F1’s. F1 should indeed be learning from F2 and F3.

      Speaking of the V8’s – just consider that they lost them at one stage, with V8’s only agreeing to come back if they had their own pit facilities built to run as a championship event and also given equal status in the marketing. A huge number of people go there for the V8’s and many leave when boring F1 comes out.

      1. Reverse grids are in F2/F3 – not yet F1…
        But they show exactly why they should be.

        1. Reverse grids = F1.75

      2. Coventry Climax
        20th September 2021, 15:30

        And in the well over 45 years that I’ve watched it, I’ve now come to the conclusion that F1 has taken a wrong turn, and is now being killed by both Liberty and the FIA.

        1. Coventry Climax Silly reverse grid discussion aside (because the teams have already rejected them) I fail to see how Liberty and FIA have done anything but take F1 in a proper new direction after it had become unsustainable. The cars will be able to race closely, and the have teams will have less and the have less teams will have more, and this will all add up to a healthy and sustainable set of teams with cars that put more of it into the driver’s hands. What’s not to like about that?

          1. @robbie

            I agree they’ve done some good things but I’m not 100% convinced everything is quite as rosy as it could be.
            The number one best thing by a mile is they finally achieved a budget cap. That was attempted (and failed) years ago and it’s the main reason things got to be as bad as they have been. People complain about Mercedes as if there’s never been a period of dominance before – they must surely be forgetting the Ferrari era with Brawn and Schumacher or even Red Bull/Vettel. Each of those were pretty much budget driven as well.

            My only concerns for the future are that I believe they’ve taken a step too far in their restrictive regulations and of course their desire to introduce these unnecessary silly gimmicks.

            I accept that there may be a need initially for a bit of restriction of innovation whilst things balance out, but for me, one of the exciting aspects of F1 has always been the way some teams managed to bring something innovative to give them a slight edge over a seemingly superior team. Sadly, some of those things have been regulated out and I think we may end up a bit poorer for it.

            Hopefully in a year or two teams will be granted the opportunity to open up designs to investigate things like dynamic suspension, moveable wings, mass dampers & even enhanced hybrid elements for which they will have to risk budget within a tight cap. Until then I’m concerned that we might see things that are a bit too “spec”

            Exciting times ahead? I really hope so but I’ll stay cautious because I see the germination of ideas that cause me concern. I’m certain we’ll continue to differ in that regard – time will tell.

  12. I 1000% agree with Prost.

    Reverse grids would be unfair, They would be penalising success & they for me are simply a gimmick too far that has zero business been introduced into the pinnacle of the sport.

    I also think it’s flawed to think that the fastest at the back would easily come through the field so it would make no difference because in reality with the whole grid reversed that isn’t going to happen, Especially in a short sprint race. That thinking also ignores how overtaking cars of similar pace is always more difficult than passing cars your 1+ seconds faster than, As such even if the fastest drivers did make there way to the front they are likely to do it in the order they started (Or ended lap 1 in) as it’s going to be harder to pass each other than it is the slower cars they are making there way through.

    All a reverse grid will do is disadvantage the championship leader & give his immediately rivals an opportunity to unfairly gain points on him in a contrived way which would do nothing but artificially skew the championship.

  13. I’m not entirely sure how watching Hamilton and Verstappen crash whilst running at the back of the grid is meant to be more exciting than when they’re competing for the lead.

  14. So I read the headline and thought he was considering a comeback perhaps he thought ‘ I could probably give most of them a run for their money even now’ , very disappointed, but entirely agree with his comments.

  15. F1 needs to make racing more dynamic, allow for strategy. Simply reversing the grid should work, however it is stupid and artificial.

  16. Instead of reverse grid, just use Q1 results for the sprint race start and Q3 results for the real race start.

    Alternatively use the Q3 grid for the sprint race but pour water on the track before the race. No need for sprinklers, fire trucks can do the job.

  17. Reverse grids were already rejected by the teams in the discussions ahead of the format of the Sprint Qualifying. To me, that Binotto and one of his drivers thinks it’s still a good idea is moot. Most in F1 don’t. They told us that within the last year or two.

    Aside from that, what we do know is that they will not be trying reverse grids this year, and next year the cars should race so differently that they will realize there is even less appetite or ‘need’ for reverse grids. This concept has only been kicked around as a result of cars not meant to race closely with each other, and the gulf between the have and the have less teams. That has been changed and F1 is going a new direction.

    I don’t really understand why reverse grids is still getting this much air time. Must be because the Sprint Qualifying has gone as could have been predicted for the types of cars they are racing, and those cars are about to become dinosaurs anyway.

    1. @robbie, it’s an interesting point.

      Why did they even bother trialling sprints when it was always going to be the way it is with the current cars.
      I’ve said this before on a number of occasions that surely things should have been deferred until after the new cars were introduced. If they work as “intended” then all this silliness wouldn’t be required anyway as we should be seeing genuine “racing”.

      As for why reverse grid is getting so much air time – it never really went away – even Brawn has said recently that he’ll look at ways to improve the concept “including adding jeopardy to the grid order”.

      Me, I’d much prefer they give next years cars a chance before trying to add artificial “excitement” but I’m convinced that horse has bolted.
      In the meantime I’m enjoying watching the titanic battle that this year’s dinosaurs are giving us – not so much the sprints but the races have been great.


        @dbradock Don’t forget part of this is that they want Friday to be a more enthralling day as well. It’s not just that they decided on a Sprint Qualifying, and that they have decided on it with the current cars, it is that they are looking for a more exciting way to qualify, and as well making Friday more interesting than before.

        I do get concerned when he talks about ‘jeopardy’ but he has also spoken about no gimmicks, so it’s hard to know what they might do going forward, but certainly for now there seems to me little appetite for reverse grids. I don’t know what all the options might be for ‘jeopardy’ but perhaps if that means reverse grids but it is for a separate-from-the-Championship Sprint series, then at least reverse grids wouldn’t be affecting the Championships.

  18. Prost has always been a bit of a quitter :-))))

    1. Ahaha..

      He goes on to say, he is open…

      Well change is not always good, but for things to be better, change is needed.

      Maybe not this change.

  19. Success ballist or reverse grid and f1 would be over

  20. Can we not just focus on making Sunday a sprint race again?

  21. I thought this idea was dead but I’m happy it’s back. The current system rewards the best car (i.e. the best designers) not necessarily the best team and even less the same driver. I remember Vettel or Hamilton winning from pole with lots of seconds ahead. Excellent drivers of course but when you compared a sixth place from Alonso having to go through several drivers on the grid, risking, avoiding contact, braking late, chasing, etc, Fernando’s seventh place gives me a much better sense of an excellent driver than a winner that starts from pole on the fastest car and wins from beginning to end.

    I see all of the comments against this and I agree that this concept of reverse grid should not be to “improve the show”. I am against the very idea of thinking of motor racing as just a show. It is rather a sport and an activity that brings together technology and skills. I think reverse grids could just help both of these aspects if implemented carefully.

    Perhaps, reverse grids could be a good idea only in certain tracks (obviously Monaco and Hungary, not). Or, alternatively, it could be some form of pre-race detached from the Sunday race. Whatever the format, I’d like to see Hamilton or Verstappen (or anyone else) win using their full skills, having to overtake, using pit stops wisely, risking and not just going first from beginning to end. If the others look silly (Russell’s comment), so be it. It is precisely the point that the best actually shows that he is better than the others. Otherwise, you will always have the debate on who won and who was the driver of the day. Shouldn’t it be the same in all or most cases ? Funny enough it is almost never the case.

  22. Prost isn’t the only one.

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