Red Bull and Mercedes seem to be at odds over the prospect of ‘reverse grid’ qualifying when the 2020 Formula One season finally gets underway.
Officials proposed the idea, which would see qualifying replaced by a 30-minute race on the second Saturday, with the starting positions based on reverse championship standings.
It would mean that the driver leading the championship would start at the back of the grid, with the individual at the bottom of the standings beginning from pole position. This non-points scoring sprint race would then determine how the grid would look for Sunday’s main race.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner was in favour of the plan and claims there was “overwhelming support” from the other team supremos, who were also keen to give the idea a chance.
Mercedes’ Chief Raises Objections
Horner, though, revealed that Mercedes chief Toto Wolff was the standout exception, as the Austrian felt it would “interfere” with Lewis Hamilton’s hopes of claiming a seventh world title.
He told Sky Sports’ F1 show: “It (the proposal) seemed to get overwhelming support. The only person that wasn’t particularly supportive of it was Toto because he thought it would interfere with Lewis’ seventh world championship campaign, and it would be too much of a variable.
“It’s the same for everybody. Having races being at the same venue for two consecutive weekends would be a logical and timely place to introduce and try something.”
Horner went on to add: “I think it would be something really entertaining for the fans, something positive for Formula 1 and something we really shouldn’t be afraid of trying.”
With Wolff seemingly dismissing the suggestion, it now looks highly unlikely to be passed, as it will need all 10 teams to agree for the proposal to be implemented for this year’s campaign.
Looking Forward to F1 Restart
The coronavirus pandemic left many wondering whether the F1 season would have to be scrapped, but it now looks like motorsport fans can look forward to next month with real optimism.
The 2020 season has been pencilled in to start in early July, with Austria’s Red Bull Ring set to host the opening Grand Prix on July 5.
That will be the first of back-to-back race weekends for Formula One, with the circuit due to host the season’s second race in Spielberg on July 12.
World champion Hamilton doesn’t have a great record in Austria, winning just once in Spielberg back in 2016. In fact, Red Bull have won the last two races at their home circuit, with Max Verstappen claiming success in 2018 and 2019.
After the Austrian double-header, Formula One teams will then head to Budapest for the third race of the campaign, with the Hungaroring the venue on July 19.
With the British government giving the go-ahead for Silverstone to hold two races in early August, England will be the next stop on the F1 calendar.
Further races, most likely in Spain, Belgium and Italy, are expected to be held later in the summer, with no dates confirmed as yet.