Defending reverse grids in F1

The continued talk about reverse grids, sprint races and other ways to “improve” Formula 1 has been met with some derision as both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel slammed the concept this week.

This left F1’s Ross Brawn paddling through the paddock explaining the idea and trying to offer clarity in the face of the negative press the concept was getting.

“I’ve read a variety of statements from drivers and pundits concerning ideas to make the race weekend format more spectacular,” Brawn said. “To try to clarify the situation and avoid misunderstandings, there are discussions about experimenting in 2020 with changes to the qualifying format with the aim of making a grand prix weekend a little less predictable.

“I want to emphasize the word ‘experiment’ because this is what it is about — a small sample to establish the directions for the future. We are all too aware that the current qualifying format is exciting and spectacular but what is also important is to make sure that the race, the highlight of the weekend, is the best it can be. And since, no matter how many simulations you run, there’s no measure more accurate than the track, Formula One, the teams and the FIA are studying the possibility of a revised format for a small number of events for next season. With stable sporting and technical regulations in place for 2020 it is the perfect time for such evaluations.

The idea of having three or four race in 2020 that feature a qualifying race where the cars line up in reverse championship order and then race for pole position. How they finish in this qualifying race is how they would start the race on Sunday.

There are a host of concerns that immediately come to my mind as the teams and the FIA are continually bemoaning the cost of F1 and need to engage in prize money re-distribution in order for some small teams to survive. How would having an additional race over the weekend be less expensive with damaged parts, more stress on engines, gearboxes and need for additional tire allocation?

“No decision has been taken yet because we are finalizing all the details, but feedbacks received so far are, in the majority, positive. I understand that the purists might be concerned, but we should not be afraid to conduct an experiment otherwise we cannot progress. We don’t want change for the sake of change; we want to improve our sport, because, rather like the development of the cars, if you stand still you risk slipping backwards.”

I understand the need to improve F1 and not being afraid to try things, but I think F1 needs to consider what it wants to be, measure twice and cut once. Surely an exhaustive review of F2 and the financial impact it has on Saturday’s sprint race and other metrics could/have been reviewed and calculated? The dollar amounts won’t be similar—F1 would be more expensive—but maybe the percentage would be closer to accurate?

Hat Tip: ESPN F1

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Come on, Ross. You’re better than this. Reverse grids? Are you simply out of ideas or has it just become too hard to change the cars enough to make everyone unhappy? To me, it sounds like Liberty can no longer wait until 2021 for a more competitive Formula-1 series and they’re willing to try anything that sticks to the wall.


What kills me is that if they kept the rules as-is for next year, how exciting would that be? Every time they fiddle with it, one team gets it right, and the rest play catchup for the next few seasons


Right. So we have a reverse grid. Here’s what will happen. In the first five laps the Williams will let the Saubers by. The Saubers let the Racing Points by. The Racing Points let the Tauro Rosos by. The Tauro Rosos let the Mercedes by. Voila! Back to regular grid position. what do they think this is? NASCAR?