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Binotto revives call for reverse grids

NEWS STORY
16/11/2021

Ferrari boss, Mattia Binotto points to Lewis Hamilton's performance in Brazil to revive the call for reverse grids.

While most drivers, team bosses and fans are against the concept, there are a number of inhabitants of Planet Paddock who continue to believe that what the sport needs is reverse grids.

Of course, the call usually comes from those teams that would benefit most as opposed to the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull.

Ahead of Ross Brawn's Interlagos debrief for the official F1 website, in which he is absolutely guaranteed to push the proposal once again, Ferrari's Mattia Binotto has used Lewis Hamilton's extraordinary displays over the Brazil weekend as proof that the idea would work.

Asked, despite the criticism of the concept if he thinks it is feasible, the Italian said: "I think it is, honestly, because of what happened with so many overtakes, so much fun.

"I think we should really consider it," he added, "and that's obviously for the sprint race format and having seen what happened, I think it's not debatable."

In September, Brawn, who has long championed the concept, suggested a 'stand-alone' weekend where such ideas could be trialled without affecting the championship.

"I think qualifying on a Friday, race on a Sunday, with a standalone event with some decent reward in between," he said, "but maybe a little bit of jeopardy in the grid of how you start it.

"But we've always got to be conscious, we don't want gimmicks, we don't want an artificial show, we don't want to cannibalise the Grand Prix, we don't want to affect the integrity.

"It's a difficult balance," he admitted. "But there's definitely potential there."

While the admission that F1 doesn't want gimmicks appears to be a classic case of shutting the stable gate after the (prancing) horse has bolted, what Binotto and Brawn don't appear to understand is that any manipulation in order to achieve a desired result is a gimmick by its very nature.

What had everyone talking about Hamilton's performance over the weekend - other than his various run-ins with the stewards - was that his remarkable fight back from last on the grid on Saturday to fifth was unique. His need to overtake 15 drivers in a bid to secure a decent grid slot for Sunday was what drove him, and thrilled us, the fans.

His was a brilliant performance in reaction to a chain of circumstances.

Reversing the grid a couple of times a year would compromise the spectacle of such a fight back besides which in no time at all teams would be factoring the concept into their strategies.

Fact is, many of the new fans being brought into the sport by the likes of Drive to Survive want something beyond the paddock antics of their heroes, and with no guarantee their attention can be grabbed for two hours on a Sunday afternoon the sport's powers that be are constantly looking for new ways to entertain and capture their imagination... gimmicks.

If one needs any further proof of the direction the sport is heading, one need look no further than Stefano Domenicali's welcome message today on hearing the news that Alfa Romeo has signed the sport's first Chinese driver.

With no disrespect to Guanyu Zhou, when was the last time the sport's CEO personally welcomed a driver signing?

As the late, great Mike Lawrence would say... follow the money.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by RP, 18/11/2021 17:58

"Considering that the first turn on the first lap is the beginning of a demolition derby, it is likely that the championship will be determined by the luck required to get through the debris field.
Something is needed but it ain't a reverse grid. "

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2. Posted by kenji, 17/11/2021 5:54

"@ Tokyo Aussie...interesting to study the variances. At the Mexican GP Mazepin's best lap was approx 3.5 secs off the pole time. At the race start, by the time Mazepin passes the start/finish line he is already 5 secs behind the pole man who has clear air in front of him and is in a faster and far superior car. The odds are massively stacked up against the backmarkers. Short of a miracle [ there's no such thing of course ] there is no way that they are ever likely to race for points unless race incidents catapult them forward when others cease to compete. Reverse grids are one way of possibly addressing this issue whether we like it or not. Drivers that are purported to be the very best of the bunch would have that theory tested at every race. The superiority of the Mercedes was in full display last week end. It is ludicrously fast as Red Bull have witnessed the hard way. Whilst I do not support reverse grids I do feel that there is a better solution out there somewhere."

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3. Posted by TokyoAussie, 17/11/2021 3:11

"Oh, FFS..."

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4. Posted by kenji, 17/11/2021 1:02

"With the fastest cars starting from the front row the result is almost always totally predictable and that is boring. Yes, we all know the cliched mantra...inferring that the 'others' must build a 'better mouse trap'. That does nothing to alter the status quo as we have witnessed for the past 7 years! That said. reverse grids are not the best solution by long shot. However I do see the logic in looking at a better way to make the racing a bit more equitable. Hopefully the combination of a cost cap and new cars will bring the teams closer on track but I am not in any way convinced that this will happen."

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5. Posted by flyinglap, 16/11/2021 21:01

"Enzo Ferrari must be spinning in his grave... I cannot believe that his son Piero, and vice-chairman of Ferrari, would be agreeing with such a notion, and I cannot fathom how is it possible that such nonsense filters through the corporate structure and it is ultimately expressed officially by the likes of Binotto. There are no words to describe the disappointment. The fact that the Mercedes (driven by Sir Lewis) is capable of (occasionally) running circles around the entire grid does not make 'reverse grid racing' exciting, but it is rather a disgrace for the lot of them. If Binotto and his technical team are not able to produce a winning Formula 1 car they should be fired and sent off to the Stellantis Group to design electric appliances."

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6. Posted by Roli, 16/11/2021 18:24

"Its always April the 1st at Maranello...."

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7. Posted by Sam 66, 16/11/2021 16:24

"If Ferrari had a winning car, they would threaten to leave the sport at the mere mention of reverse grids"

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8. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 16/11/2021 16:16

"Reverse grids would surely be a step to far, they would not do it, would they? did we not have this same conversation with sprint races, I know the purists like me do not like changing anything, a tweak here and there does no harm, but a reverse grid would effectively end Formula One as we have known it. "

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9. Posted by Greg, 16/11/2021 15:28

"T'is soon to be the season. BAH humbug"

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10. Posted by Oldgit, 16/11/2021 14:38

"Adding a little jeopardy to the grid ???? We already have Mazepin and Tsunoda.

Binotto should stop sniffing the fuel."

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11. Posted by Roli, 16/11/2021 14:30

"Absurd! Its prob.ably the only way a Ferrari will start from the front row. Its a RACE. Reverse grids are a gimmick not fit for a world championship."

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