How to start something


A recent fan survey showed that 75% of those responding were against the idea of reverse grids. Yet in the history of motorsport, the starting line-up order has been decided in many ways.

Grand Prix grids were first set in the order of who went quickest in practice at the 1933 Monaco GP and of course now tradition reigns supreme over this matter.

Yet what do fans of Formula One want to see from a race?

Is it not the duels between drivers of different abilities in cars of different performance that is the attraction for most people?

Then again, some fans prefer a racing style time trial, where the best car and driver are flat out testing the capabilities of both man and machine against the given circuit configuration.

However, even the ‘purists’ have to accept the modern F1 cars mean racing in front of the rest of the field is itself a big advantage – and winning from this position may have less to do with a driver’s race craft skills or even the cars pure race pace.

Reverse grids are attractive for many, because it is in effect a handicap system, which many different sports utilise to level the playing field somewhat.

Then again, a random number generator for all cars in a race could create amazing spectacles as cars out of position duel with others they wouldn’t usually find themselves behind.

Maybe even grid boys and girls could do a live TV draw from a hat.

What if the drivers were set a challenge before each race/race weekend and then they start in the order the complete the challenge?

Team’s could have jokers to play, maybe even start a driver card school. Kimi fans will indubitably agree a vodka drinking competition would be the best way to resolve this.

So, should F1 keep sacred it’s starting position rituals – or maybe do something different that creates a greater number of on track race battle duels.

26 responses to “How to start something

  1. Fixing the wrong problem. If being out in front is too big an advantage, change the rules so it isn’t and cars can follow closely and slipstream again rather than needing to sit two seconds back and wait for the pit stops… That and redesign the tracks where you can’t overtake (well, alright, except Monaco!).

    Changing the grid order would be like DRS – it’d create fake overtakes to cover up the lack of real ones.

    • I would say amending the aero package instead of the circuits so much so.

      Formula E confirms that even street circuits can generate exciting close up wheel to wheel racing if the cars are able to follow closely without ruining their tyres / race.

  2. What is the basis of the reversed grid? Qualification would be meaningless because you would not want pole position. Use the previous race as the basis? Start the first race of the season with all the rookies in front and the champ at the back? Or would you award points for qualifying to push people to take pole. But even then it could be useful to start with the stronger opponent behind you.

    • For the reversed grid, still hold the qualifying session and hope that the spectators/ viewers will be enthralled by drivers attempting to drive around the circuit as slowly as possible without actually stopping. Countless hours of entertainment and much less stressful on the brakes and tyres than all this futile speedy stuff…….

    • Maybe Pole in Qualifying earns some amount of points and the actual grid by the finishing order of the previous race.

  3. The issue with reverse grids or even just random starting grids is that it becomes a gimmick and is extremely unfair. If the sport is to be taken seriously, then the best players should win. Fastest lap time trials (a.k.a. qualifying) is an even playing field for all racers as to how they set up their cars and has different trade offs in that a car can be set up to qualify well but can be bad in the race. If you were to try reverse grids, then qualifying would become a quest to see who can go the slowest. Starting first is a clear advantage, just like how in most sports, the team that is first going into the playoffs has the most advantage. The person/team earned that advantage and it should not be taken away just for “the show.”

    If there was some exciting but fair way to replace qualifying, sure, I say go for it. But it should not punish the better drivers/teams.

  4. First and foremost F1 is a sport, we shouldn’t forget that. If reverse grids were to be introduced F1 would be cheapened and the sport would lose a lot of integrity and probably fans.
    The set up of a Grand Prix weekend is fine, there just needs to be a way to, as discussed many, many times to create a more level playing field. Without assasinating everyone in charge at the moment I’m afraid this will never happen though.

  5. My idea has always been to take the average of your previous reversed race result and your qualifying position. You’d get lots of people supposedly in the same position so the qualifying position would be the deciding factor. This would keep qualifying meaningful whilst also pushing some of the faster cars backwards.

  6. My idea would be to remove a driver’s water bottle from the car and allow them to slowly dehydrate over the race distance. Then we’d get some real action and misjudgement…

    I’d also like to combine the above initiative with a fan-based interactive mechanism. Like the FE fan boost option, i’d like to have a “Brake Fail Fan Choice”. Over the course of a race, fans will vote online for a driver that will, 10 laps from the end, experience an artificial brake failure on one tyre on the entry to a corner. This will really keep the dehydrated drivers on their toes and wondering (if they have any brain function left) if they’ll be selected, and if so which corner it will be that they’re about to brake into; and of course if their front left is going to go, or rear right, as an example.

    Of course neither initiative would change or affect Maldonado’s races; but the rest of the drivers will really have to be awake, so to speak.

    • I think we are looking at this all wrong, Pastor could be the saviour of our sport. Years ago there was a slot car system called TCR, it featured a Jam Car which slowed the players down and caused many a player to fire their cars off the track and into the waiting jaws of the family dog. What we need is a few more drivers like Pastor,Roman,Max and co and then our sport will be entertaining again. Place them in cars from GP2,let them form a b team and remove their mirrors and radios..oh what a series that could be. Oh wait a mow,I do believe WEC do this already and look at the fun they have 😉

  7. Ah! reverse grids like short oval stock car racing in the UK. Go to 18″ wheels, fitted with M&S tyres(mud and slush). Allow people to overtake on the grass or through the gravel. Extra points if you can knock over any of Bernie’s advertising boards. Redneck version for the USA GP, would have drivers carrying a pump action, and blow away the signs. Remove the rear wing and enlarge the front wing, to give massive oversteer drifiting moments. At the entrance to the pit road, put a box at 90°, and make the drivers enter it forwards and then reverse out and up the pit road into their garage. Reduce the number of pit crew during the race, to the level of NASCAR or WEC. At some races, the pit crew would have to be replaced by the team manager, tech boss and sponsors. Toto, Niki, and Paddy on tyre change duty. Wouldn’t that be a fun competition for charity? Toto and Paddy, vs Clare and Rob, vs VJ and Bob Fernley, vs Ron and Eric, Christian and Helmut etc.


    • I do like the idea of armed cars,shoot out the lead drivers tyres before you make an overtake,think Mario cart with a 12 bore 😉

  8. How about a minor rearrangement of the grid. Outside row places 1 through 10 in order, front to rear, inside row places 11 to 20. Still gives fastest car first on grid but shakes things up a bit further back.

  9. The qualifying process and line up of the starting grid are not the problem. Let the cars get up close to each other without ruining their tires. Change the aero packages every couple of races. Loosen up the aero regulations except the ones that are there for safety reasons (the teams want to see exciting racing so they’ll tweak the aero so that it happens), get rid of DRS, have two tire suppliers and let the teams choose which compounds that they want for the weekend not Pirelli or Michelin (or whoever the other supplier ends up being), tweak some of the circuits layouts to allow for safe on track passing, battles, and wheel to wheel racing, turn off the radios except foe essential safety and when to pit, and have the steering wheel only display essential information.

    • The main problem is the aero package that doesn’t allow close racing – which is what fans want. DRS is only a temporary solution, smaller front wings would be a start.

  10. If you’re trying to attract Big Brother viewers then some of these are great ideas. IMO there’s not much wrong with the racing that hasn’t been an issue for years already. The whole debate about “the show” is a smoke screen to cover up the decline brought by pay walls.
    If you want a handicap system then just add 100 grams of ballast for every championship point scored, simple.

  11. The qualifying grid is not the problem that needs fixing. We need tracks and cars that enable real overtaking without the gimmicks.

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