While Formula 1 plots the way forward for the sport beyond 2021, word has leaked out that the powers-that-be are considering tinkering with the race weekend formats to spice up the show.
One of the suggestions apparently under consideration is a reverse order grid system used in karting and junior championships. The matter was put to Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc during the qualifying top three press conference in Singapore last Saturday.
Vettel protested loudest by calling such tinkering “bullshit” with Hamilton and Leclerc in agreement with the German. The consensus, with regards to qualifying in particular, is that if it “ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
Now, the furore has been addressed by F1 motorsport chief Ross Brawn which clarified his organisation’s intent in his post-Singapore synopsis, “In recent days I’ve read a variety of statements from drivers and pundits concerning ideas to make the race weekend format more spectacular.
“To try to clarify the situation and avoid misunderstandings, there are discussions about experimenting in 2020 with changes to the qualifying format with the aim of making a Grand Prix weekend a little less predictable.
“I want to emphasise the word ‘experiment’ because this is what it is about – a small sample to establish the directions for the future. We are all too aware that the current qualifying format is exciting and spectacular but what is also important is to make sure that the race, the highlight of the weekend, is the best it can be.
“And since, no matter how many simulations you run, there’s no measure more accurate than the track, Formula 1, the teams and the FIA are studying the possibility of a revised format for a small number of events for next season. With stable sporting and technical regulations in place for 2020, it is the perfect time for such evaluations.
“No decision has been taken yet because we are finalising all the details, but feedbacks received so far are, in the majority, positive. I understand that the purists might be concerned, but we should not be afraid to conduct an experiment otherwise we cannot progress.
“We don’t want change for the sake of change; we want to improve our sport, because, rather like the development of the cars, if you stand still you risk slipping backwards,” concluded Brawn.
Big Question: What, if anything, needs to change to ‘improve’ Grand Prix weekends?