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Teams reject reverse grids

NEWS STORY
19/10/2019

Ever since taking control of the sport at the beginning of 2017, Formula One's owners have made no secret of their desire to overhaul it, both in terms of the on-track action and the desire to curb spending.

In a bid to level the playing field, and hopefully encourage new teams to enter F1, the sport's powers that be are considering changes to almost every aspect of the sport, from how the cars look, how much teams are allowed to spend and levelling the playing field so that the likes of Alfa Romeo and Racing Point are in with a chance of a podium finish as opposed to the big three continuing to rule the roost.

One of the proposals intended to spice up the track action was the use of qualifying races, which the sport's bosses were hoping to try at three events next year.

At the French, Belgian and Russian races it was proposed that Saturday would feature a 100 km sprint race in which the cars would line up on the grid in the reverse order of the championship standings at that time. The result of the qualifying race would then decide the starting grid for next day's Grand Prix.

From the outset the proposal drew criticism from the teams, drivers and fans, many of who see it as just another gimmick while feeling that the current format is fine, even if some still hanker for the 'go for it' qualifying of the Senna era.

Amidst mounting hostility to the proposal, F1 MD, Ross Brawn went on the PR offensive last month, insisting that the idea was not set in stone, merely an experiment.

"I understand that the purists might be concerned," he said, "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."

However, at this week's meeting of the teams, F1 bosses and the FIA, the proposal was rejected.

Other than fears that any incidents in the qualifying race would impace costs and also compromise teams' race day efforts, the big teams expressed concern that starting from the back of the grid would handicap them - which is basically the point, as far as Chase Carey and the gang are concerned.

The proposal needed unanimous acceptance but failed to get it, and while it will be seen as a stumbling block it is thought the powers that be haven't entirely given up on the idea and may try to push for it again next year.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spindoctor, 23/10/2019 7:25

"I have already offered my 'Clown suit' solution to this problem. This is Royalty-free, and involves no technical changes.
If (say) L. Hamilton is leading a race, and it's felt by Liberty that his dominance is ruining the 'show', then he must pit and don a clown suit before proceeding.
What's not to like?"

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2. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 21/10/2019 8:08

"Glad this has been shelved, the current qualifying is great as it guarantees track action, the "Senna era" gave us 1 hour with nothing happening for 50 minutes, sort the cars and tracks to give us the racing we desire and stop trying to "Americanise" the sport we love."

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3. Posted by Egalitarian, 20/10/2019 22:46

"Ross Brawn is no dummy. He knew that the idea would be rejected. This particular move did a couple of things. It made him appear active in front of his employers while demonstrating to his employers that there is no appetite for it. However, my concern is the workplace bargaining move of "if you want 5 ask for 10'. So I get the feeling that something stupid will be proposed that won't appear as loopy as the reverse grid race proposal - and then get through. In 2 years we will be standing there looking at something that didn't represent the competitive F1, but the 'show'side of it, and we will wonder how it happened.
And I am one of those go-for-it Senna era people. "

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4. Posted by klmn, 19/10/2019 16:07

"The old Le Mans start would be something ;)"

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5. Posted by Anthony, 19/10/2019 15:59

"Thank goodness this terrible idea has been rejected."

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6. Posted by USA1, 19/10/2019 15:55

"Good thing they rejected it, that would have been my last race I ever watched, the answer to all of this is so easy, I don’t understand why not just put a budget cap and leave everything else open to the teams no more regulating the sport just hard and fair racing, may the best win!"

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