Formula 1 is currently thinking about how to make the sprint races more exciting. One idea that has been brought up a lot is a sprint with a reversed starting lineup, as is common in some junior series.
In Formula 2, for example, there was only one qualifying last season, with the top 10 on the starting grid simply being reversed for the sprint race. Such an idea is too artificial for Formula 1 purists like Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
“If we want chance, then we have to make a show out of it. But the DNA of Formula 1 is: It’s a sport, and only then an entertainment platform. It’s not a show. […] And I don’t think we should develop there,” Wolff said on the subject years ago.
And his pilot, George Russell, doesn’t think it’s a good idea either. “Personally, I don’t think that races with a reversed grid will work because I learned that in Formula 3 and Formula 2,” he emphasizes.
Russell explains: “If you take the ten fastest cars, the car you’re fighting with is the hardest to overtake. If you flip the grid, the fastest car in tenth will try to overtake the second fastest car in ninth. “
Russell believes: tires and strategies are key
This in turn would itself try to “overtake the third fastest car in eighth place. So every car tries to overtake its direct competitor. So there will probably only be one DRS train,” fears Russell.
Because each car is just stuck behind the next one, which is a little slower than you, but still fast enough so that you can’t get past. “I think the concept won’t work,” Russell ponders.
“It could be that a Williams is leading in front of a Haas that just can’t get past, which is in front of an Alpine, which is then in front of a McLaren or whoever,” said Russell, who believes there are other keys to good results Sprint races exist.
He emphasizes: “The best sprint races so far have been when the tires have deteriorated, as we saw in Qatar, and people pursued different strategies.” There was also “a good race” on Saturday in Brazil this year.
“But in most sprint races you put on the medium tire and just give it full throttle until the end, and there is no good racing,” Russell also knows. You have to start from that – and not from the starting grid.