Formula 1 is asking fans whether it should replace qualifying sessions with reverse-grid sprint races at four rounds of the 2021 season.
Liberty Media twice tried to introduce the format for a limited number of races this year. The proposal failed to gain the unanimous support of teams on both occasions.
Following the Italian Grand Prix Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn indicated he intended to raise the proposal again. Brawn said the Monza race “showed the excitement a mixed-up pack can deliver.”
The poll on F1’s Fan Voice website, titled “Reverse Grid Qualifying Races Survey”, ties the concept to the Monza race. It begins by asking fans: “Did you enjoy the Italian GP more/less than you would usually enjoy a race?”.
Respondents are then asked how much they enjoyed the “unpredictability” of the Italian round, the chance to “[watch] Lewis Hamilton fight his way through the pack” and “seeing drivers who would not normally have the chance to compete at the front battle for the win”.
Those who respond to the poll are also asked whether they agree whether “the world champion should be the best all round racing driver, taking into account their speed, overtaking ability, strategy and their ability to fight for victories” before being prompted for their views on reverse-grid qualifying races.
The reverse-grid qualifying race proposal is described as “a 30 minute reverse grid (based on current world championship standings) qualifying race that would replace the existing qualifying format for those particular races”. The result of that race would set the starting order for the grand prix.
A separate poll on the site asks “do you agree/disagree that reverse-grid qualifying races are something F1 should consider?” At the time of writing, from over 2,700 responds, the single most popular option is “definitely disagree”, with 32%. However while 45% of those surveyed chose either ‘strongly disagree’ or “somewhat disagree”, 46% picked from the two ‘agree’ options.
The reverse-grid proposal has been widely criticised by F1 drivers. Last weekend Sebastian Vettel said reverse-grid races “would be wrong in the name of sport”. Other drivers who have criticised the plan since it was first announced include Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
George Russell, who would start a reverse-grid race from second place under the current championship standings, said in response to a question from RaceFans last weekend it would make the Williams drivers look “stupid”.
In June Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said another poll of Formula 1 fans had shown only 15% were interested in reverse-grid races.
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2020 F1 season
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