F1 drivers fear ‘artificial’ reverse grids will devalue wins

F1 drivers have voiced their concerns over a reverse-grid scheme mulled by the sport’s chiefs, fearing the concept would devalue race wins.

F1 director of motorsport Ross Brawn is keen on introducing a reverse-grid qualifying race at a limited number of events next season.

To gauge the popularity of the idea, Formula 1 is currently polling its fan base.

But the concept has so far not received an enthusiastic reaction from drivers who fear that an artificial gimmick that will boost the chances of success of slower cars will only lessen the value of a race win.

    Read also: Brawn – Italian GP shocker proves reverse grids ‘worth considering’

“I’m just worried if we add it in an artificial way and mix up the field, and every driver is then getting an F1 win, does the value of an F1 win hold what it does today?” worried Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.

“I think that’s where it’s going to be, that fine line and that balance. That’s my kind of reservation.

“It’s tough because we want more exciting races, but it’s still, F1 and I think everyone holding the big trophy, it should hold a certain level of value. And maybe that would be diminished somewhat with a reverse grid.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen believes a reverse grid scheme would simply be contradictory to F1’s very essence.

“I don’t like it. It’s just artificial and trying to create a show, which I think is not what Formula 1 stands for,” said the Dutchman. “It’s just not my thing.

“The fast car should be in the front. That’s what everyone works for so why would you try and manipulate the show? And at the end of the day, probably cars will end up in the same position anyway, but it’s just not what Formula 1 is about.

“It needs to be about pure performance and, you know, that’s what you work for. You want to be the most dominant and competitive team out there and you want to start on the first row.”

McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl echoed Verstappen’s view, but added that reverse grid races in 2021 would make no sense when new regulations aimed at improving the show are set to be introduced.

“Fair or unfair, in the end it introduces some kind of artificial randomness which from our point of view simply shouldn’t be part of F1 as I said,” Seidl said.

“For me and for us, F1 has always been competition between constructors, teams, drivers, the best team and best driver should be at the front in qualifying, and the same on Sunday in the race.

“Next year I’m aware that it’s kind of an interim year, probably not seeing a big change, at least at the front of the grid in terms of pecking order,” he added.

“But as I said everything that comes into the game from 2022 onwards with the budget cap and new technical regulations, I think will help close the grid again to have more competition.

“I think that’s positive and why we think it would be wrong to introduce any artificial randomness now.”

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