F1 drivers opposed to reverse-grid in place of qualifying in 2021

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Most Formula 1 drivers are opposed to the idea of holding reverse-grid sprint races in place of qualifying next year. Formula 1 has canvassed fans on the idea, which managing director Ross Brawn has been pushing for some time.

But the majority of drivers asked about the topic at the Russian Grand Prix on Thursday said they disliked it.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen said: “It’s artificial and trying to create a show, which is not what F1 stands for. The cars will end in the same position.”

The Dutchman added: “The fastest car should be in the front. That’s what everyone works for. F1 is about pure performance.”

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have consistently expressed their opposition to the idea, and at the last race Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said it was turning the sport into a wrestling-style show.

Mercedes vetoed the idea when Brawn tried to introduce it at some races this year but new rules for 2021 make it more likely to happen.

The idea was given fresh momentum by the Italian Grand Prix earlier this month, when a series of incidents led to a mixed-up grid for a restart and a shock victory for Alpha Tauri driver Pierre Gasly.

F1 has asked fans to vote on trying the proposal out at four races next season.

The grid for the sprint race would be based on reverse championship order and the result would set the grid for the Grand Prix.

McLaren’s Lando Norris said: “I don’t think if you swap everyone it will necessarily lead to a better race.”

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez added: “I saw Toto Wolff said F1 is not WWE and I agree. The problem F1 has is the difference across teams. They are working hard to fix that for 2022 (with new technical rules).

“I don’t think it is a good idea for the sport. Saturdays are very special in F1 as well as Sundays. You would be taking quite a bit away from the Saturday.”

And Williams driver George Russell said: “I still think the Mercedes would win. It would be interesting in the midfield because the pace of those cars are so close. The cars behind wouldn’t be able to overtake.

“We have to try things. It might be exciting, it might a bit of a joke. Maybe we could try it once.” (BBC Sport)

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