Brawn says two teams opposed quali races trial as he presses on 2021 changes
F1 MD Ross Brawn revealed that two teams opposed the reverse-grid qualifying changes as he states how Mexico GP showed that 2021 changes is needed.
Since the birth of F1, the qualifying format has undergone a number of changes and for a while, there was talk that 2021 would see another amendment, in the form of reversed grids. A trial run was to be undertaken in 2020 as a result.
The idea was for it to be tried for three F1 races in 2020 i.e Belgium, France and Russia but Brawn confirmed that this unorthodox method of a reverse grid in championship order for a Saturday qualifying sprint race, will not be undertaken for now.
He also revealed that two teams rejected the idea when it was up for vote. It was later understood that Mercedes was one of them. "The current governance system means we need unanimity to carry any decisions through to next year," said Brawn to F1 website.
"The teams initially said they would agree with it and then two teams put their hand up at the last meeting and said they wouldn’t agree with it. We wanted to try a small number of F1 races in 2020, a different format where, on a Saturday it was a reverse-grid format based on championship order and that short-format race would determine the grid order for the final race.
"I thought it was a fascinating contest. And the drivers were a little bit nervous, which I can understand, but we were just asking for the opportunity for three F1 races to try the format. If it doesn’t work, we put our hands up; if it does work, great.
"If it’s something in between, we can work with [that] just to help us develop the format of racing, and it’s frustrating that we’ve not been able to do that but I think that’s – unfortunately – the classic problem with F1."
The idea was somewhat of a hybrid between sprint races and reversed-grid starts, in a bid to liven up action on Sundays and Saturdays, but, it wasn't to be, and F1 will seemingly stick with their standard qualifying format for the foreseeable future.
At the same time, the subsequent F1 Mexico GP, although in pockets provided much dramas, it ended up being a strategic game as drivers attacking from behind couldn't make a move stick on their rivals ahead despite on a much older tyres.
Brawn highlighted the need of the 2021 changes where they are trying as much to improve this very situation, where F1 drivers can follow each other closely without having to give up on tyres and still be in the position to pass.
"It’s a shame that there was not much of a fight on track, especially among the leaders, as everything was in place to deliver an exciting fight, revolving particularly around the potential duel between Mercedes and Ferrari on a track where overtaking is very possible," he wrote in his post-race F1 column.
"However, once again we saw that when cars and F1 drivers are evenly matched, then it becomes really hard to not only overtake but to even get close to the car in front. Getting too close for a few laps could mean ruining your tyres, causing drivers to back off and let them recover before making another brief assault.
"This is nothing new, but it confirms once again that there is a need for a change in the regulations to enable cars to fight at close quarters. Change is potentially now not far off, at least on paper, given that in a few days, the FIA World Motor Sport Council will rule on the regulation package for 2021, which we presented along with the FIA.
"The new F1 aero configuration has been developed to reduce the impact of following another car. Overtakes and battles are easy when there is 1-2 seconds lap time difference, but when there is a smaller difference there is no chance.
"Suggestions we should delay the introduction are frustrating because the situation gets even worse each year with the cars we have now. How many opportunities have we lost to see close battles? On Sunday there weren’t many, despite the track characteristics and the introduction of an additional third DRS zone.
"If even these attributes do not produce closer racing, it’s time we reacted. It isn’t about change for the sake of it, we have put a massive effort into developing these new regulations in the long-term interests of the sport."
[Image courtesy: Red Bull Content Pool] [Note: This story was co-written by me with Duncan Leahy on FormulaRapida.net]