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F1 had "fingers bitten off" by reverse grid idea that was "a step too far" - Brawn

F1 had "fingers bitten off" by reverse grid idea that was "a step too far" - Brawn

F1 News

F1 had "fingers bitten off" by reverse grid idea that was "a step too far" - Brawn

F1 had "fingers bitten off" by reverse grid idea that was "a step too far" - Brawn

Ross Brawn believes F1 went "a step too far" with its reverse-grid idea that prompted a sharp backlash last season and has resulted in the new sprint format.

Brawn initially aired the reverse-grid idea a year ago as a way to spice up two races at the same track as F1 prepared for its first Covid-hit campaign.

The likes of Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was vehemently against, as well as traditionalist F1 fans who saw the proposal as anathema to the sport's meritocracy and integrity.

The idea was eventually ditched, with F1's managing director motorsports Brawn confirming it will not be revisited as the sport throws its weight behind the sprint race.

"That was a step too far, and I think quite rightly," said Brawn.

"There are a lot of stakeholders in Formula 1. The circuits loved it, of course, the promoters loved it, the broadcasters were pretty keen, but it probably was a step too far. We tested the water and got out our fingers bitten off.

"We retreated and thought through what could be possible and a good step, and it was a good process in the end.

"That's where sometimes the governance of Formula 1 is frustrating, but sometimes it helps to put a dampener on things and makes sure everything is properly considered and thought through before we do anything.

"It [reverse grid] works well in our lower formulae, I must say, but they have different objectives sometimes than we have.

"The participation of the drivers and teams is a big thing in the lower formulae, and therefore the opportunity to get on the podium frequently is a big factor."

Brawn has said he "would have found it quite appealing to see that happen", suggesting the sceptics perhaps did not fully grasp the concept.

"I think what people were sometimes forgetting is that it wasn't a random order," added Brawn.

"It would be a reverse grid in the order of the championship, so you would have Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton on the back row of the grid, and they would have to be fighting their way through the field.

"It wouldn't be like picking a raffle from a hat where somebody could be at the front and somebody at the back. It would be graded as you went back and you would definitely see who are the strongest racers in that format.

"On balance it was a step too far and I'm pleased we've got what we've got."

F1 will trial what it is simply describing as 'the sprint' at three races this year - the British and Italian GPs, and a yet-to-be-named flyaway event.

Qualifying will replace second practice on Friday afternoon and set the grid for the one-third distance sprint on Saturday afternoon, with the result determining the grid for the traditional grand prix on Sunday.

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