Brawn: 2020 qualy formats would be an ‘experiment’

Date published: September 24 2019

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Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn has stressed that any changes to the format of race weekends in 2020 would be an “experiment”.

The sport’s owners Liberty Media are talking to teams about the possibility of reversed-grid qualifying races at certain locations in 2020.

However, the drivers especially have taken a dim view on the idea, with Sebastian Vettel branding it as “bull****”.

Brawn was keen therefore to clarify that any such changes to the way race weekends worked in 2020 would be nothing more than an “experiment”.

Speaking in F1’s post-race media pass, 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 emphasise 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 1, 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.”

Brawn wants those ripping into the idea to see the benefits experiments like this could bring to future race weekends.

“No decision has been taken yet because we are finalising all the details, but feedbacks received so far are, in the majority, positive,” he confirmed.

“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.”

FIA president Jean Todt has expressed his support for trialing different race weekend formats.

“It is part of discussions – how to make sport better, how to make sport more attractive, always trying to find new ideas and it is true among the new ideas there is this possibility of having a race on Saturday with a different starting order which will generate the order of the race on Sunday,” Todt explained.

“So I will say it is a working process and no decision has yet been taken but I think it is an interesting initiative to see what other opportunities we could have.”

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