Why alternate Silverstone layouts were never an option for F1
Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has explained why alternate configurations of Silverstone and the Red Bull Ring were never a serious option for the sport - both venues hosting double-headers in 2020.
A growing concern among fans is that the double-headers at Silverstone and the Red Bull Ring will feature two identical races, with little difference in strategy or, barring technical problems, the result.
The FIA and Formula 1 also share these concerns and have looked for ways to spice up the action, but plans for a reverse grid qualifying race for the second event at each venue were thrown out after Mercedes voted against the idea.
Another way to differentiate between the races, would be to run on different configurations of the circuits. But, while both the British and Austrian grands prix venues host lower categories on alternate layouts, only the full grand prix versions hold the required FIA grade 1 licence.
“From a regulatory perspective, there is nothing stopping it,” Masi told Speedcafe.
“Unfortunately we didn’t have that option so much for either Austria or Silverstone. But if there are other events, such as Bahrain, that come up with that, and it’s seen as another way of trying to achieve something, then why not?”
Of all the circuits to hold the relevant grade 1 licence, only the Bahrain Grand Prix venue, and the Dubai Autodrome hold licences for multiple layouts.
For this reason, Liberty Media is seriously considering using the perimeter 'oval' layout of the Bahrain International Circuit should a second event be staged.
Explaining some of the thinking behind potential changes to the season, Masi added: “The big part is, we want to maintain the integrity of the championship, A; and B, ensure that, wherever possible, that we can provide a good spectacle for the viewing public, be they television or, hopefully by that point in time, later in the year, with some luck, face-to-face.”
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