Ferrari: F1 doubleheaders the 'right test platform' for reverse grid races

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Ferrari supported Formula 1's effort to introduce reverse grid races because this year's doubleheaders offered the "right test platform".

As the sport tries to make up for lost events due to Covid-19, two circuits are already slated to hold a pair of world championship races for the first time in history and as many as three others have offered to do likewise.

To try and bring some unpredictability to those second race weekends then, F1 bosses rekindled their idea for a Saturday qualifying sprint race with the grid formed by reverse championship order.

And Ferrari, who would normally be expected to oppose such an idea, were on board.

“We believe that 2020 will be a difficult season anyhow,” team boss Mattia Binotto said via RaceFans.

“It’s a season that should have started in Australia, didn’t start in Australia, we start only in July. [There are] less races, some races on the same circuit: Austria-Austria, UK-UK.

“I think that we need still to try to attract our fans, we need still to make sure that for the future of the F1 we are creating the best show. And I think that [having] the sprint race only on the second race weekend on the same circuit would have been a solution.

“We can even consider that 2020 would have been the right test platform eventually for an alternative solution for the future.”


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Unfortunately, only one known team stood in the way, Mercedes, and with unanimous support needed, it meant the push was squashed.

“It’s a little frustrating,” F1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn told Racer. “But I think that is part of the aspects of Formula 1 which in the future need to change.

"Toto [Wolff] was quite frank in the meeting. [He said:] 'We're in what we think is the best competitive position, we're chasing seven world championship.

"'Why would I give up that opportunity I have, because this proposal will put me in a far more difficult position?'

"I understood that and respected it," Brawn conceded. "I wish that he would have taken a bigger view, but he didn't. I think all the stuff that came out afterwards was just fog."

Instead, the Briton admits F1 is now dependent on normal variables to try and spice up the second races at the same circuits.

“We’re in very unusual circumstances because we have two or maybe three occasions when we’re going to have a race on consecutive weekends at the same track," he said.

“We can’t reverse the tracks. Lots of people have asked why we can’t do that, and (it’s because of) the safety standards and the way the tracks are configured.

“The barriers are designed so that you glance off them one way if you hit them; going the other way you do yourself a lot of damage.

“So it’s just not feasible, unfortunately, to reverse the tracks.

“We may get lucky. We may find we go to Austria and there is a chance of some different weather. It’s the first few races of the season and it could be pretty mixed up and we may be fortunate.”

Another way also now being considered is to use different tyre compounds on each weekend.

"There are two elements to the second weekend," he explained. "There's making sure people run all weekend: we don't want a very quiet Friday because they've got all the data they need.

"The other aspect is, is there something we can do that will engage fans a little bit more at the second race because of a change? Something which the teams won't see as upsetting their competitive status within F1?

"It will be very small if it is. It will be something like tyre compounds or something of that sort.

"We'll see whether there's any scope to do something with it. If they have a different range of compounds available, they'll do some work.

"But it's far from certain. We're kicking it around at the moment. It's possible there will be nothing. But if we can do something just to liven up that second race, it will be a good thing."