Mercedes opposes F1 reverse grid qualifying race plan

The Mercedes Formula 1 team is opposed to a fresh push to experiment with reverse-grid qualifying races when racing resumes – and, unless the team changes its mind, the initiative won’t go ahead.

Mercedes opposes F1 reverse grid qualifying race plan

Unanimity among the 10 teams is required for the plan to be voted through and then approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council. A formal vote will take place next week.

Reverse grid races have been discussed regularly over the past couple of years, and having run simulations most teams were opposed. However, the concept came into play again during an online meeting of team principals, the FIA and F1 last Friday.

With the longer-term financial and technical rules now settled, the Friday meeting focussed on plans for the initial eight-race European calendar that starts in Austria next month, and how behind closed doors events will operate.

Reverse grids are an attempt by Liberty and the FIA to add interest to the second race weekend at the same venue at a time when TV companies have questioned the value of the double-header races. They are also seen as a trial for possible more extensive use in 2022.

Various formats were discussed in Friday’s meeting, and the consensus was that a definitive version should be compiled by the FIA. That was sent to team bosses on Saturday for further evaluation.

Read Also:

The idea is that a 30-minute qualifying race would replace regular qualifying on the second weekend, with the starting order based on the current championship order. After the race, the cars would be kept in parc ferme.

The rest of the weekend would run as normal, with the regular FP1, FP2 and FP3 sessions. Grid penalties such as those for a gearbox change after FP3, will be applied to the main race on Sunday.

In the case of the July 5 and 12 races in Austria, the grid for the qualifying race on the second weekend will obviously be based purely on the finishing order in the opener – which means that a frontrunner who retires early in the first race will still start gain an advantage for the second. At later events, a more representative championship order will have emerged.

At the moment the only other double header definitely planned is at Silverstone, which in theory will host the fourth and fifth rounds, following the two races in Austria and one in Hungary.

However a double-header in Bahrain in November/December has also been discussed, and there remains a possibility that some European venues may be revisited later in the season for a second or third time if flyaway events can’t take place.

Although the FIA introduced a “60% rule” to ensure that major rules changes go through during the COVID-19 crisis with up to four teams opposed, the reverse-grid plan is not considered as an urgent priority, and hence unanimity is required.

It’s believed that while the majority of teams gave a clear yes to the plan on Friday, including Ferrari, Mercedes made its opposition clear, while some other teams said they also needed more time to consider it.

Read Also:

An urgent decision is required early this week because there is a meeting of F1’s sporting working group on Wednesday, where detailed rules could be discussed by the team managers.

Mercedes is understood to be against the idea for the obvious reason that the form book suggests it will be the pacesetter when racing resumes, and the team is opposed to gimmicks being introduced to the sport.

The team has already accepted one form of handicapping in terms of the new aero R&D rules, which will create a sliding scale with the less successful teams able to conduct more work.

The definitive European calendar is due to be officially announced on Monday, although there is nothing listed after Italy on September 6. 

shares
comments
Hamilton calls out industry silence over racial injustice
Previous article

Hamilton calls out industry silence over racial injustice

Next article

Williams loans brought £28m into company

Williams loans brought £28m into company
How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Prime

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022