F1's reverse grid sprints could be "slippery slope to becoming F2"

Formula 1 risks being put on a "slippery slope to becoming F2" if it pushes through with the idea of reverse grid sprint races, says Aston Martin boss Otmar Szafnauer.

F1's reverse grid sprints could be "slippery slope to becoming F2"

A far from exciting sprint qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix led to criticisms from fans, some drivers and team bosses about the current format not working.

But, as revealed by Motorsport.com on Thursday, one possibility being looked at for 2022 is to move away from using the sprint race to decide the grid for Sunday.

Instead, the Saturday sprint event could become completely standalone – with potentially a reverse grid based on championship position and more points on offer.

The idea for that has come from drivers who, following talks with F1 chiefs, said they felt the sprint race did not offer enough reward nor have enough jeopardy.

But Szafnauer has made it clear that Aston Martin would be against any move for a reverse grid format – and fears that F1 risks devaluing itself if it goes down the gimmick route.

“I will support what the fans deem to be entertaining,” he said, when asked by Motorsport.com for his views on the standalone sprint idea.

“However I think reverse grid in F1 is a big, big departure from what this sport was always about. And I personally wouldn't want us to have this sprint race on Saturday turned into a slippery slope to becoming Formula 2.

“If that's what the fans want, then I'm wrong, and let's do what the fans want. But I don't think Formula 1, the pinnacle of motorsport, should start entertaining weight penalties, reverse grids, all that kind of stuff.”

Read Also:

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, whose team was key in blocking a push a few years to introduce reverse grid races on Saturday, says his opinion on the matter has not changed either.

“I remain in the same position, it's diluting the DNA of the sport of a meritocracy,” he said.

“I think sprint races were worth a try – I'm not sure if we will keep them. But reverse grids can be done in junior formulas, where you want to see the overtaking ability of drivers. It's not something we should even come close to in Formula 1.”

But not everyone is against the reverse grid idea, as long as the Saturday sprint did not have an impact on the grid on Sunday.

McLaren’s Lando Norris reckoned if the sprint was a complete standalone then a reverse grid could be possible.

“If it's a reverse grid that means something for the championship, I'm not a fan of that, even in the junior categories,” he said.

“But for just something more exciting, something more fun for the fans, I think that's great. It is more of a challenge for us and the team, and then we can leave that aside for Sunday when we have the main race.

“So we have that extra bit of excitement in the middle of Saturday that's kept separate, which I think is the most important thing.”

shares
comments

Related video

Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix – How to watch, start time & more

Previous article

Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix – How to watch, start time & more

Next article

Mercedes would drop MGU-H from F1 engine to help VW entry

Mercedes would drop MGU-H from F1 engine to help VW entry
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Prime

Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Prime

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of "glory" if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1's other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021