Italian GP sparks fresh reverse grid race talks

Jamie Woodhouse

Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn says reverse grid sprint races will be considered for a third time after the dramatic Italian GP.

A Safety Car, red flags and a 10-second stop-go penalty for Lewis Hamilton all contributed to a crazy Italian GP at Monza where all these factors combined to flip the usual pecking order on its head.

Pierre Gasly would ultimately win his first Formula 1 race, whilst McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll completed the podium.

The likes of Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas were left trying to fight their way through the pack, a glimpse of what reverse grid races would have been like if the idea hadn’t have been turned down for a second time.

And Formula 1 liked the view, so reverse grid sprint races at selected events will be put on the table once again.

“Monza was a candidate for a reverse grid sprint race when we were considering testing the format this year,” Brawn wrote in his post-race column.

“Unfortunately, we could not move forward with it, but the concept is still something we and the FIA want to work through in the coming months and discuss with the teams for next year.

“We believe that yesterday’s race showed the excitement a mixed-up pack can deliver and with next year’s cars remaining the same as this year – our fans could be treated to the similar drama we saw this weekend at Monza.

“Of course, with a reverse grid sprint race, teams will set their cars up differently. Right now, Mercedes set their cars up to achieve the fastest lap and then to control the race from the front.

“If they know they have to overtake, they will have to change that approach.

“We will continue to evaluate new formats with the aim of improving the show but always maintaining the DNA of Formula 1.”

Autosport report that the idea will be discussed between F1, the FIA and teams in the “coming weeks” as part of wider talks over race formats for 2021.

The concept was turned down this year after Mercedes rejected it – all nine other teams agreed but the old system required every team to be on board.

However, the new Concorde Agreement has changed that and rules will now be decided by a ‘super majority’.

28 votes are needed for a super majority. The FIA have ten votes, as do Formula 1, whilst the 10 teams have one vote each.

So, if the FIA and F1 are united behind a potential change, then only eight of the ten teams would need to accept it for it to be pushed through.

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