Formula 1’s director of motorsports Ross Brawn says any changes to the qualifying format in 2020 would only be experimental to see how race weekends can be made less predictable.
The sport is investigating ways of changing the race weekend format ahead of new technical regulations being introduced in 2021, and one of the options being considered is for a reverse-grid qualifying race. In Singapore, many drivers were asked about the idea of reverse grids and gave the concept short shrift, but as the situation was rarely fully explained in questioning, Brawn clarifies such changes would only be trials rather than a permanent move.
“In recent days I’ve read a variety of statements from drivers and pundits concerning ideas to make the race weekend format more spectacular,” Brawn said. “To try to clarify the situation and avoid misunderstandings, there are discussions about experimenting in 2020 with changes to the qualifying format with the aim of making a grand prix weekend a little less predictable.
“I want to emphasize the word ‘experiment’ because this is what it is about — a small sample to establish the directions for the future. We are all too aware that the current qualifying format is exciting and spectacular but what is also important is to make sure that the race, the highlight of the weekend, is the best it can be.”
Brawn says next year is being targeted due to the stability of the rules, and any changes would only be introduced if they prove to be successful.
“No matter how many simulations you run, there’s no measure more accurate than the track. Formula 1, the teams and the FIA are studying the possibility of a revised format for a small number of events for next season. With stable sporting and technical regulations in place for 2020 it is the perfect time for such evaluations.
“No decision has been taken yet because we are finalizing all the details, but feedbacks received so far are, in the majority, positive. I understand that the purists might be concerned, but we should not be afraid to conduct an experiment, otherwise we cannot progress.
“We don’t want change for the sake of change; we want to improve our sport, because, rather like the development of the cars, if you stand still you risk slipping backwards.”