Mercedes thought reverse grid races would 'interfere' with Hamilton's title bid - Red Bull

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner claims Mercedes only opposed introducing reverse grid races because it could "interfere" with Lewis Hamilton's title chances.

In recent days, it has emerged Formula 1 bosses had once again put forward the idea of a Saturday sprint race to decide the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix, with the drivers starting in reverse championship order.

The suggestion was the format would be used during the second race weekend at the same circuit, with the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone already confirmed as hosting back-to-back rounds in 2020.

However, Mercedes is the only known team to have opposed the proposal, and with unanimous support needed, the Red Bull boss was clearly frustrated to see it blocked.

“I think we’ve got a unique situation this year, and having two races at the same venue – it would seem the perfect time to try something different at that second event,” Horner told Sky Sports' The F1 Show.

“Otherwise, with stable weather conditions, we’re likely to have the same output in race two as we have in race one.

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“[The proposal] seemed to get overwhelming support. The only person that wasn’t particularly supportive of it was Toto [Wolff] because he thought it would interfere with Lewis’ seventh world championship campaign, and it would be too much of a variable."

The Mercedes boss though insists his opposition is purely about ensuring F1 doesn't deviate from its DNA.

"There seems to be a common pattern in Formula 1 of digging out old ideas that had been analysed thoroughly and rejected and then somebody thinks it's great and it's back on the agenda," Wolff said is a Zoom call with the media.

"I believe Formula 1 is a meritocracy, the best man in the best machine wins; we don't need a gimmick to turn the field around and create more exciting racing.

"I hate any kind of balance of performance, it becomes a political game and political world championship and has no place in Formula 1.

"What has been introduced with the new ATR (Aerodynamic Testing Restrictions) is the possibility for lower-ranked teams to slowly creep back in terms of development scope to where the leading teams are. It's tiny percentages each year, so it is not going to make a big difference from one year to the other, but it is going to balance the field out after a few years.

"I believe that if you are not good enough to win anymore then you have equal opportunity if you are second or third and you have more scope again than the world champions. I think it was done as a fine adjustment, not with a baseball bat. Reverse grids would have been the baseball bat."

Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey has since confirmed the idea of reverse grid races is now off the table, but says other possible changes are being considered.

“We’re changing almost real-time inside the season, but we’ll continue to look at ideas. We want to make sure they’re not gimmicks,” he said via

“It’s a great sport with great history, great heroes, great stars, incredibly talented drivers and other individuals so we want to respect everything to a degree but we want to make sure that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t look at ways to make some changes.

“To some degree, this season being unique gives a little bit more opportunity to try something that I don’t think we would do unless we thought it was a real possibility to add something to the race.

“But I think we’ll continue [talks] but it won’t be unique to this. I think we always want to be challenging ourselves and [looking at whether] there are other things we can do to make the sport better.”