Plans to introduce reverse-grid qualifying races at a limited number of rounds during the 2021 F1 season have fallen foul of a lack of support from teams.
Under the plan, qualifying sessions at a limited number of F1 weekends would have been replaced with sprint races starting with the field in reverse championship order. The finishing positions of these short races would have set the starting order for the grand prix.
RaceFans understands the proposal was discussed at a meeting of the Formula 1 Commission on Monday. As it became clear the plan did not have the support of a majority of teams, it was not put to a vote.
This is the third time Formula 1’s efforts to introduce the proposal have failed due to a lack of support. The scheme was twice floated for introduction this year but blocked both times.
Formula 1 motorsport manager Ross Brawn seized on last month’s lively Italian Grand Prix to make the latest bid to introduce the rules, claiming the Monza race “showed the excitement a mixed-up pack can deliver”.
FIA president Jean Todt said he was not in favour of reverse grid races but would not block the proposal if it had sufficient support.
In order for the proposal to be approved for next year, F1 required the support of at least eight of the 10 teams. But with Mercedes, Racing Point, McLaren and Renault among those expected to oppose it, the plan looked unlikely to proceed prior to Monday’s meeting.
The plan was also not popular among drivers, who criticised is as “artificial”, “completely wrong”, and likened it to World Wrestling Entertainment. Several drivers said F1 should wait to see whether the planned technical regulations changes in 2022 delivers better racing before considering whether radical changes to the race weekend format are necessary.
Had it been approved, the proposal would have been a major break from tradition. Qualifying sessions have been held at every single one of the 1,030 events which have counted towards the world championship since it began in 1950.
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