F1 in ‘treacherous water’ with reverse grids

Date published: June 17 2020

Williams Mercedes

Ex-Formula 1 driver, Mark Webber, has warned the sport against turning to reverse grids to help spice up the on-track action.

The idea of having reverse grids in the second races at Austria and Silverstone this season was mulled over by the 10 teams but the proposal was ultimately blocked by Mercedes.

Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolff labelled the format change as a gimmick and compared it to taking a “baseball bat” to the sport as success would be punished and being at the back would be rewarded.

Webber, meanwhile, feels that if this particular idea was signed off on in future, it could then potentially lead to more handicap systems  and format changes being introduced.

According to him, that is a slippery slope Formula 1 does not want to be heading down.

“Next we’ll have weight ballast, balancing performance. How far do we go?” Webber said on the F1 Nation podcast.

“I love entertainment, I love a good race, don’t get me wrong. I like seeing one or two guys out of position, we all do. It’s quite a novel thing to go through.

“Let’s be careful. For the people at home, and let’s keep in mind now that converting new people to our sport, and continuing to have new customers for our sport, it’s not the easiest sport to understand.

“I think if we confuse the customer, it’s treacherous water really. I don’t think you want to over-complicate things.”

FIA president, Jean Todt, has said Formula 1 is still looking at alternatives to reverse grids.

“When there are two grands prix on the same track, this allows you to carry out bold experiments,” Todt told Corriere dello Sport.

“A qualifying sprint race is one idea, but it did not pass with unanimous support. But this does not mean that we will not find other innovative ideas. That work is now being done.”

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