The idea of having reverse grids in Formula 1 has been rejected, but the sport could still experiment with sprint races on a Saturday this season.
Reverse grid races have been a recurring topic of discussion in F1 in recent years, specifically focusing on using them to set the starting order for a qualifying race, with the result then setting the grid for the grand prix. Balancing new ideas with tradition has proven challenging at times under Liberty Media’s ownership, but the sport’s new CEO Stefano Domenicali says he has ruled out one proposal already.
“Reverse grids are over,” Domenicali said. “That’s something that I can tell you. I think that it’s important to think maybe new ideas of being more attractive or interesting. We don’t have to lose the traditional approach of racing. I think that what we learned in the period of changing qualifying every two days has been something that has burned our fingers, so we need to avoid that.
“Therefore now, I think the format is quite stable. What we are looking at is, what could be the approach of the so-called sprint race on Saturday? We are thinking if this could be tested this year. There are discussions going on with the teams in the right forum, and I think that maybe this could be one thing that could be interesting.”
Domenicali says another change in terms of when teams might run their cars is likely to be focused around rookie drivers, as he feels they are not given the right opportunities prior to joining the grid.
“We need to give once again attention to the rookies. Real rookies,” he noted. “Because today, with the fact that we have less testing, we need to create — not only in free practice, as already written in regulations — but maybe good events highlighting the fact that we need to focus the attention on the team of rookies.
“Because now the parameters are super solid. OK, we have a very, very good number of young drivers already in F1, but we cannot stop that flow going on. Therefore I think that’s another area we need to keep working with the teams to find the right solution, to highlight the value of investing in the rookies, the academies of the teams and the drivers.”