After a chaotic Italian Grand Prix that provided a major shakeup at the front of the grid (mostly due to Lewis Hamilton’s 10 second stop-and-go penalty), many are saying the introduction of reverse grid qualifying races could provide the fans with a similar kind of excitement. One of those people is Formula 1’s managing director Ross Brawn.
“Monza was a candidate for a reverse-grid sprint race when we were considering testing the format this year,” Brawn wrote in his column after the Italian Grand Prix.
“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 Sunday’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 One,” concluded the Briton.
The idea kicked around is to stage a race on Saturdays, with drivers that are at the bottom of the championship standings starting at the front, and the results from this sprint race would determine the grid for Sunday’s main race.
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Lewis Hamilton gave his opinion on making changes to the qualifying concept.
“We’ve had the same weekend format for God knows how long so,” Hamilton said.
“it gets a bit boring when it’s the same thing every weekend but I don’t have a suggestion. Give it up to the fans. Find out what the fans want.
“OK. I wish we had more laps, more tyres, more laps, that would be fine,” concluded the six-time champion.
His team-mate Valtteri Bottas doesn’t think the current qualifying format needs a big change.
“I personally like the format, how it is, overall,” he said.
“I feel, as a driver, it’s pretty nice and exciting especially, you know, if you get to Q3 and in those laps you only have one or two opportunities that matter.
“I like it, but I understand the point. Some tracks, traffic, there’s always going to be an issue, like Monaco for example and Bahrain, going to be same or even worse maybe.
“I don’t have plans what kind of format could work, one lap or something, but I would be open to try but I don’t have the answer,” concluded the Finn.