Formula 1

Drivers united F1 can be improved without ideas like reversed grids

Formula 1 drivers are ‘100% united’ on the changes they want to see the championship’s bosses make instead of experimenting with ideas like reversed grids.

Teams remain in talks with F1 owner Liberty Media and the FIA about trialling reversed-grid qualifying races at select grands prix in 2020, but that proposal has not been well received by drivers.

Sebastian Vettel labelled it “bullshit” over the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, and said pursuing such an idea was “completely the wrong approach” to solving F1’s problems.

Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director Romain Grosjean said the body’s members still stood behind the four key changes they outlined earlier this year rather than attempting to find artificial ways to increase entertainment.

“I think the GPDA point is that, and it’s from 100% of drivers, that the problem is not the way the weekends are, the problems are bigger than that,” said Grosjean, when asked by Autosport why drivers did not support the reversed-grid idea.

“We are not trying to address things with a small spoon when a good old pan will do the job.

“It’s tyres; why there is such a big gap [on track] between the cars, because the tyres are just so sensitive.

“It’s money distribution, when the money is spread out like this, how can you get a close championship?

“Then it is weight of the car, which is very much related to helping the tyres, and aero sensitivity which F1 is working on.

“We believe that if those four points are sorted then the championship doesn’t need any tricks of whatever.

“We haven’t seen tennis change the way they do tournaments because Nadal and Federer have been winning, but at the moment we are going with a ping pong racket to a match where Nadal has a tennis racket.”

He added: “We don’t have any political interest, we don’t have any financial interest, we only have this love of our sport.

“So 100% of drivers are united on those points and much more. We are the only ones united.”

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr agreed getting the basics for a better championship right would reduce the need for F1 to rely on ideas like reversed grids.

“Before changing the format, I think we first need to see a F1 with a tight field and with cars that are able to follow,” said Sainz.

“Once we have a 2021 with cars that are able to follow, and a whole grid within one second – which is what I wish for every driver to be able to make the difference – we might not need any of those changes.

“We might have the best F1 ever without any of those changes.

“So why don’t we focus on making F1 how it should be, which is closer competition, more equal money distribution and cars that are able to follow each other?

“Then all of a sudden you have a good F1 and maybe you don’t need all the other stuff.”

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