Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019

F1 drivers pleased “artificial” qualifying races plan lacks support

2019 Mexican Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers welcome the new a plan to introduce ‘qualifying races’ at some rounds next year failed to gain the support of teams.

Under the proposal, qualifying sessions would have been dropped from three rounds on the 2020 F1 calendar. Instead a short race on Saturday would have been held, with the drivers starting in reverse championship order, and its result used to form the grid for the grand prix.

However at a meeting last week it became clear the plan did not have the unanimous support of teams, which is needed for it to be approved for the 2020 F1 season.

That came as no disappointment to Max Verstappen. “I was always against it,” he said. “I think many, many people were.”

Kevin Magnussen also welcomed the news. “I think it’s good that it didn’t go far,” he said.

“It would be very strange and too artificial, I would say. I think it’s always interesting when there is a mix up in the grid. But it wouldn’t be as interesting if it’s done artificially by swapping the grid. I think that would just not feel the same.”

Magnusen’s team mate Romain Grosjean, who is a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ association, said the drivers believe the sport can be improved by other, less artificial means.

“I just don’t think it is in the DNA of Formula 1,” he said. “We believe [the] GPDA and all the drivers and it’s my point of view also, that there is different things that can be done to have a really good racing and no need of artificial reverse grids.”

While the proposal has failed to win support so far, it could still be passed if teams agree unanimously to introduce it before the start of the 2020 season.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “F1 drivers pleased “artificial” qualifying races plan lacks support”

  1. While the proposal has failed to win support so far, it could still be passed if teams agree unanimously to introduce it before the start of the 2020 season.

    I really hope they don’t.

    1. @dallein And to be honest, why would they. Why would they suddenly change their minds after already having voted against it?

      1. @jerejj The same way these things often get approved: They agree to support something they don’t want in exchange for receiving something they do want.

  2. I’m getting somewhat annoyed by these drivers who keep saying the same things others are. They should have unique perspective and generate new thoughts, ideas, approaches.

    Anyway, let me pick apart (or try to) their main points.

    “I think it’s always interesting when there is a mix up in the grid. But it wouldn’t be as interesting if it’s done artificially by swapping the grid” – Mixing up the grid today is done artificially, almost always through penalties created by FIA. How is creating different rules by same body for making the grid is any different? Its the same artificial approach.
    But lets try to scrutinise ‘artificial’ in general… Most would mean that it’s not natural, which in racing means fastest end end up at the front. OK. In qualifying going fastest is the goal, and if you interfere with that then yes I agree it would be absurd and not ‘natural’. However, qualifying isn’t being changed. It’s simply not being run. I love them but I’m willing to give up 20% of them. Now… forming starting grid for main race based on who’s fastest from qualifying removes the driver’s challenge. I expect the race to test the driver’s speed, ability to react to different conditions, manage tire wear, be aware of the strategy, ability to defend and overtake. Arguably race craft is the most important quality I expect to see from a driver in a race. Current weekend format most often takes that aspect away. It is therefore not artificial to throw drivers in uncomfortable grid positions to see how they cope. It should be the goal of the weekend… its their opportunity to shine, show us they are better than opposition.

  3. Having a reverse grid race is the equivalent of saying “hey you’ve been getting the best grades on all the quizzes so we’re going to give you less time than everyone else to take the final. Just to see how good you really are.”

    1. Not really. More accurately it would be “hey you 6 out of 20 have more tutors etc etc than the other 14 and you’re always answering the questions and always getting them right and it’s very predictable so we’re going to give the other 14 less advantaged ones a chance, just for a change.”

  4. F1 and hardcore fans are pleased

  5. Kudos to the currently ‘DNA’ generation trying to make sure F1 dies out as it currently is. Hopefully the future generation will once again make sure these naysayers fail and the sport can move onto something better.
    Qualifying is plenty artificial right now with multiple ‘quali’ laps, parc-ferme limitation, engine limitation, tyre limitation. All they want to do is add one more in the form of championship limitation.
    But whatever, let’s just keep on pretending.

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