- Mansell - Williams

Why Formula 1's Reverse Grid Idea Will Never Work

I know it's really boring.. but bear with me...

38w ago

Monza and Mugello, we had two interesting and exiting races given to us in the 2020 season. Now with more reliability, safety measures and improved technology, Mercedes is stronger than ever. The domination of Mercedes- AMG and Lewis Hamilton creates a boring environment, and people are tired of it. Monza and Mugello showed how exiting and how interesting it is without Mercedes, and without the top teams only winning. Everyone wants to see the underdog win, its the story everyone wants to hear "The underdog winning". And Monza showed that. The lack of overtaking and the high probability and chances of the same teams winning in F1 had caused many people to suggest that Formula 1 needs to change for the audience. They need to make races more exciting. One of the suggestions is reverse grid races, F1’s managing director Ross Brawn thinks that the race at Monza and now Mugello gives more insight to this suggestion.

Monza 2020, Italian Gp - Pierre Gasly

Monza 2020, Italian Gp - Pierre Gasly

What is the Reverse Grid idea you ask? Well it is pretty simple to understand, on Saturday, a sprint race which is a much shorter than your typical grand prix race, would take place instead of the current Q1-Q2-Q3 qualifying format, with a starting grid set in reverse order of the championship standings. The result of that race would then set the grid for the grand prix on Sunday. So basically in more simpler terms, the fastest are in the back and slowest are in the front, and no qualifying would be held.

Many fans love this idea, because they want to see the back markers, the midfield and back field teams in the front fighting for podiums. They want to see battles and many fights. They want an unpredictable race. They want excitement. And Mugello and Monza have showed that F1 might consider the reverse grid sometime in the near future.

F1’s managing director Ross Brawn expanded on this rumor and idea..

“Monza was a candidate for a reverse grid sprint race when we were considering testing the format this year. 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”

“Ross brawn, F1’s managing director"

“We believe that Monza'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.” Brawn explained.

The teams would have to approach the race very differently, teams would have build and set up their car for that certain race. If you don't understand what this means ill elaborate. Teams like Mercedes build a car for speed and consistency, they don't necessarily build a car for overtaking and "fighting" because they usually don't have to. Mercedes F1 car isn't for that certain task, so if the reverse grids happen the top teams will have to approach it in a more difficult and different way they aren't used to.

“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” Ross elaborated

Then he ended by saying “We will continue to evaluate new formats with the aim of improving the show but always maintaining the DNA of Formula 1”

Tuscan Grand Prix 2020

Tuscan Grand Prix 2020

"Maintaining the DNA of Formula 1” that is what is worrying about this "reverse grid idea". Changing the DNA never works out. Its just like a human body, you cant change the DNA, and if you do, it wont go in the right direction. No matter how boring F1 is, everything is going to be boring at some point in life. There are slumps and highs in every sport, team and race. They say they will keep the Formula 1 DNA, but removing qualifying's isn't keeping the DNA. Keep it the way it is, no matter how boring it is, you don't go changing things around because it is boring, that's not how sports work. Every sport is boring at one point. That is artificial and not authentic.

Monza was a very good race because it was authentic. Mistakes and failures and different situations lead to the results, but it was also the drivers excelling in the odd situations and taking advantage of the weird situations to get a good result, not some artificial made up grid that creates hollow and fake situations. It is a Band aid solution to a bigger problem. They are throwing oil on the fire, they are trying to coverup and ignore a problem, its not right. it takes out the genuine quality of racing. No one cares if the races are boring, its better than artificially deciding an order.

Many F1 fans have reacted to this reverse grid idea:

"Reverse Grids is the single most anti-racing gimmick in existence that will kill off all long-time F1 fans along with it."

"Monza was entertaining, sure, but F1 is after all a drivers (and constructors) championship. To see who is the best. They shouldn't compromise that to make it more entertaining to watch. If anything, they should push for more equal machinery"

"Improving the show" And that's the problem they see it as a show it's not a show it's a sport"

"Reverse grid, so the slower cars go in front? Wouldn’t teams just sand bag it"

Mercedes probably will be very dominant during every race weekend unless there are some extraordinary and unlikely circumstances. Monza and Mugello were very unlikely, and will probably never happen again, those circumstances during the races, lead to very exhilarating races, which is very unlikely. While this dominance has been good for Mercedes and the team, Toto Wolff (Team principle of Mercedes) accepts that this predictability and dominance does make it boring as well. Toto thinks there could be a solution to make F1 interesting for the fans and for the sport its self.

Toto explained:

“Opening the radio channels between the pit wall and the garage. That would show how much drama there is actually behind a race win”

Toto wolff, mercedes team principle

"If you see Spa and think it was a walk - it wasn't at all. We had reliability problems. We weren't sure if we would make it with a single pitstop, like many other teams. If that went to the TV broadcast, it would create more excitement” Toto cited

“Sport must also provide entertainment. When Usain Bolt wins every single race and Bayern Munich every championship, you come to a point where the result is very predictable and not variable enough and that is not what the fans want”

Toto kept explaining how everyone wants to see the underdog and the back markers win!

“The underdog is always interesting. Everyone wants to see the underdog win. We are aware of this dynamic. We therefore will continue to come up with suggestions that do not necessarily affect our own performance”

“These things come anyway, from all the teams and the FIA ​​and Liberty, to slow us down a bit but there are also other things that we can use from the current resources to make racing more exciting” Toto ended by saying

Could opening the team radio and showing more into the teams make F1 more interesting? Who knows, I think that would be a great idea! Because it is not changing the DNA, Formula 1 should always try to stay the same or stay close to its roots, that's why it is so interesting, that's why we all love the sport. Don't change Formula 1!


Credits, inspirations, and helpful sites: Formula World (YouTube) and ESPN

Join In

Comments (25)

  • I think a better idea is just to make the machinery and the cars everyone uses much more equal so it's more down to individual driver performance. I can see why people are attracted to the idea of a reverse grid but it's not for me - equal kit for everyone is the way to go.

      8 months ago
    • yes, i one hundred percent agree, i get why people want it, but i think making the cars and technology more equal would be better, without having to change the DNA of F1

        8 months ago
  • Only reason why people want it is because you don’t have loads of variation between winners; it’s a gimmick to solve this that belongs in categories like FE...

    You wouldn’t ask for it if we got a season like 2018,2014 or 2012.

      8 months ago
  • Completely disagree with Toto - don't open team radio - get rid of team radio! These are meant to be the best drivers in the best machinery, so prove it - don't get talked around the track by countless engineers in some darkened room miles from the track. Stewards can advise over radio of any issues on track etc other than that leave it to the drivers to drive the cars...

      8 months ago
  • not a bad idea 😂

      8 months ago
  • Simple solution: Every driver should drive a different car at every race meeting! For example, in Australia, Hamilton drives a Mercedes, in Spain he drives a Red Bull, in the UK he drives a Hass, in Monaco he drives an Alfa Romeo!, etc. so in ten races he has driven ten different cars, then repeat the process for the next ten races. This would put the drivers skill to the test, not whoever has the fastest car usually winning.

    In the one make Yamaha Pro-Am series in the UK during '80s, at each rider randomly pulled the key of the bike he was to race out of a hat so he was on a different machine at each meeting, it was great racing, it was also where F1 champion Damon Hill gained valuable experience! ( pictured below, on a Kawasaki)

      8 months ago