Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have delivered a shot in the arm for Ross Brawn by calling for a shake-up of the weekend format for the second race of the forthcoming double-header at Silverstone.
F1 managing director motorsports Brawn was the spearhead for change after the back-to-back races at the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone were announced, believing it was an opportunity to at least attempt something different before making it part of the regulations.
The suggestion was for a reverse-grid qualifying race on a Saturday rather than the current format. As unanimity was required for a change to be made, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff stood alone in opposition.
The irony now, and a likely surprise for Brawn, is that Wolff's two drivers are suggesting that the second race weekend at Silverstone on August 9 - entitled the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, and coming a week after the British Grand Prix at the venue - might present an opportunity to do something different.
The only slight tweak being made is by Pirelli who will run the three hardest compounds in its range for the British race, and then opting to go a compound softer for the 70th Anniversary event.
"I’ve not watched the races so it’s difficult to have the same perspective as you [the media] will because we’re in this bubble," said Hamilton. "It’s a bit of a different viewpoint.
"I definitely think we should be trying to be more creative maybe, but I don’t know what that is, I don’t have the answers for it. But just shifting a tyre is not going to make any difference, literally no difference really for us.
"It’s a question of format. If you’re going to do back-to-back, it’s a shame we can’t reverse the circuit and go the other way but obviously that was never in the game plan when designing these circuits.
"Reverse grid? I think it would just be mayhem. If we qualified at the front and then you put us last it would be a bit of a difficult one and we would probably just end up not trying to qualify for the front so, it is a difficult one.
"I wonder if there are other series that are doing anything different that we could look into. We have these two races at Silverstone and we could definitely do something to spice it up, particularly for the second one I think."
The grid for the second race at the Red Bull Ring was naturally given a shake-up following the wet weather that dominated qualifying, with a number of cars out of position for the dry race.
While a change in the weather cannot always be guaranteed, Bottas has at least sided with Hamilton with regard to the possibility of a change being made.
"I think we saw two different races even though it was the same place," said Bottas. "Obviously the weather played a part and mixed things up a bit on Saturday and it was a completely different kind of race weekend, even though it was the same format, the same track.
"I think that’s the beauty of the sport, there are always so many unknowns and so many things that can happen, so for me, it’s not really a big issue.
"But, yes, I agree with Lewis, I think we could be creative. It just needs to be done in the right way. I don’t know what the right way is but I know Silverstone has lots of track layout options. Who knows."
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