Reverse grids a missed opportunity? The paddock is now divided
Formula 1 is now divided on the idea of reverse grid qualifying races.
When the suggestion was first aired, in a bid to spice up the second grand prix of back-to-back races at the same venue, Mercedes stood firm and alone in opposition.
Heading into the second race at the Red Bull Ring this weekend, it is now clear the pros and cons of the concept are more clear than when they were initially debated.
Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams can see both sides of the argument.
"For somebody who, for many years, has always been espousing the real DNA of our sport, funnily enough, I was fairly in favour of the reverse grid, but maybe that would come as no surprise," said Williams deputy team principal Claire Wiliams.
"I would have loved to have seen a Williams line up on pole."
But placing self-interest to one side, Williams did admit to being unsure F1 needs such a "gimmick'.
She added: "But you know, it does go against, I think, the true DNA of our sport and I’m not a person that actually thinks that Formula 1 needs these kinds of gimmicky things, I suppose, if I can call them that, to make the sport more exciting. I think that the sport is incredibly exciting."
Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer suggested his team's cars would not have coped with the scenario, in particular, due to the high rate of attrition in the season-opening race last weekend.
"As you saw, this track can be really hard on brakes," said Szafnauer. "We saw, perhaps, some brake failures.
"Unfortunately, to have a reverse grid and then go into parc fermé and then have another race, our car, for example, wouldn’t have been able to do that, to have a short race and then with the same car finish a race.
"I think those types of decisions have to be made early enough, before the design process starts, such that you can design the car for those parameters."
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner, however, feels the decision not to trial reverse grid races is a "missed opportunity'.
"Hopefully, it comes back on the agenda that we do this.," said Steiner.
"As I’ve always said, if it doesn’t work we need to brave enough to say it didn’t work and go back to what we know from before. Sometimes trying helps because there is not a lot we can lose."
Similarly, Alfa Romeo team principal Frédéric Vasseur is hopeful the idea will be revisited, suggesting Silverstone would make a perfect testing ground.
"I think I was positive for this for the rest of the season, for Silverstone and if we have to do another development later into the season I think it was a good opportunity," said Vasseur.
"It’s also part of the skill of the drivers to be able to overtake. Let’s see for the future. But we have tons of things to sort out this season."
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