Mercedes blocking F1 reverse grid qualifying races
By Mat Coch
Monday 1st June, 2020 - 1:23pm
Mercedes is understood to be blocking the introduction of reverse grid qualifying races ahead of a Formula 1 Strategy Group meeting this week.
The concept of reverse grid qualifying races has been floated a number of times in recent years, most recently during a meeting with team bosses last week.
It’s been suggested a short race to determine the grid for Sunday’s race would be held on Saturday in place of a traditional shootout style qualifying session.
The concept would be rolled out at the second round of the 2020 season in Austria, using the (reversed) results of the opening round to set the qualifying race grid order.
For such a change to be made it would require unanimous support from all 10 teams, with Mercedes currently baulking at the proposal.
The 2020 F1 season is set to feature an unusual mix of events as organisers look to stitch together a championship in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That is set to include multiple race weekends at the same venue, a feat which has never happened in the history of the world championship.
Austria is set to host a back-to-back events on July 3-5 and again a week later, with a reverse grid qualifying race seen as a way of livening up the second.
Last week a number of new regulations were voted through by the World Motor Sport Council, including limitations surrounding the aerodynamic development work teams are allowed to do.
That limit is based on a sliding scale, penalising the most successful teams in an effort to close the field.
That comes in additional to financial regulations that will come into play next season which will see a radical shakeup of prize money payouts, and the introduction of a cost cap.
The introduction of reverse grid qualifying races is seen as a trial ahead of broader sporting regulation changes for 2022.
Discussion surrounding the prospect of reverse grid qualifying races was compiled by the FIA and distributed to teams over the weekend.
F1’s Sporting Working Group is set to meet on Wednesday.