Fans divided on reverse-grid qualifying races

Jon Wilde
Departing F1 supremo Chase Carey thinks the sport should not let its history get in the way of introducing ideas such as reverse-grid races.

F1 fans appear divided over whether reverse-grid qualifying races would be a positive introduction to the sport.

A poll on F1’s ‘Fan Voice’ community site has found that from over 2,000 responses, there is no clear trend towards agreement or disagreement with the idea.

According to The Race, almost 30% definitely disagree that reverse-grid qualifying races should be considered, but around 25% somewhat agree and slightly less definitely agree.

But a survey has also been launched on the same site to gauge interest in a more specific proposal – whether a reverse-grid qualifying race should be held at four grands prix in 2021.

It is thought the races F1 have in mind for such an innovation would be the French, Belgian, Italian and Russian Grand Prix.

What it would entail is, on the Saturday instead of a normal qualifying session, the cars would line up on the grid in reverse Championship order. The race would last for 30 minutes and the finishing order would then determine the grid for Sunday’s race.

The aim would be to provide fans with more entertainment via overtaking and potentially make F1 more competitive.

Italian Grand Prix - Race - Monza - reverse-grid qualifying races

Ross Brawn, Formula 1’s motor sports managing director, is in favour but others are not – Mercedes have previously blocked the proposal, with their team principal Toto Wolff saying: “This is a meritocracy. Nobody wants a winner started from a reverse grid.”

The bad news for Wolff, however, is that if the proposal is officially put forward again, the terms of the new Concorde Agreement mean it would need more than one team to object for it to be thrown out.

Sebastian Vettel agrees with the Austrian, saying: “As a competitor, as much as I don’t like other people to win, I have to accept if other people win or do a better job.

“It would be wrong in the name of sport to try and mix things up that way.”

George Russell, meanwhile, who in theory would be one of those with most to gain from the idea because he has yet to score a World Championship point, is also not in favour.

The Williams driver said: “The fact is that we are in the slowest car on the grid, or one of the slowest cars on the grid, and we would just get eaten alive. It’s just impossible to race cars that are so much faster than yours.”

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