“Reverse grid” is a thing that people in Formula One have been uttering for years, as a way to make races a little more interesting, since it would force the quickest cars to make lots of passes. Finally, this week, F1's CEO uttered the blessed words, “Reverse grid is over.”
F1 had thought about doing a shorter race on Saturdays before grands prix next season, with the Sunday grid for the main race lined up in the reverse order of how cars finished in the Saturday race, the idea being that it might be more fun to watch Lewis Hamilton win if he has to start from dead last and weave his way through the field at least once.
That system has now apparently been ruled out but the short Saturday races are still a possibility.
From Formula1.com on Friday:
“Reverse grid is over – that’s something I can tell you,” Domenicali told journalists this week. “I think that it’s important to think maybe of new ideas of being more attractive or interesting – [but] we don’t have to lose the traditional approach of racing.
“I think that what we learned in the period where we were changing qualifying every two days has been something that has burned our fingers. So we need to avoid that. Now I think that the formula is quite stable.
“What we are looking at, for sure, is what could be the approach of the so-called sprint race on Saturday,” Domenicali added. “We are thinking if this could be tested already this year.
I don’t hate reverse grid, but the fact is that Formula One has so many other ways to tackle its problems, which are all mainly that some Formula One cars go much quicker than others. And while reversing the grid might spice that up a bit — I can see it getting very interesting on a racecourse like Monaco, where it’s hard to pass — a better way to get more exciting racing is to address the structural issues beneath.
And by that I mean narrowing the gap between the top and bottom — something the rules changes going into effect in 2022 are intended to address. If that doesn’t help then I’d be more open to gimmicks like reverse grid, but it’s good that F1 is trying to fix the main thing first.