Time for the Reverse Grid
We’re exploring the world of Formula 1 through a business, content, and media lens. If you’d like to read and listen to our work directly from your inbox, subscribe now.
Happy race day, friends —
What a whirlwind weekend we’ve experienced so far, yet again on a sprint weekend. This time with more drama coming off the track. Drive to Survive literally couldn’t have scripted this any better.
Here’s a quick rundown of what happened after Friday’s qualifying and into Saturday’s FP2 and Sprint.
Vincenzo Landino @vincenzolandinoDECISION: Lewis Hamilton disqualified from Qualifying. #F1 #BrazilGP 🇧🇷 https://t.co/I5IX8jXPCs
Lewis Hamilton was forced to start last on the grid for the sprint, and the rest is history.
Hamilton proceeded to overtake nearly the entire field, passing at least one driver from every team on the grid except for Red Bull en route to a P5 — in just 24 laps!
Fans may not be able to get this diving pass of Lando Norris on the last lap.
So what does all of this have to do with the reverse grid?
It’s no surprise that F1 wants more of these sprint weekends to grow the spectacle of the sport. Next year we will see at least six sprint weekends.
But some are torn as to what the point of creating more “spectacle” if it ends up being two days of a procession?
Here’s my thought on what the F1 weekends could look like if Formula 1 wants to increase excitement while not jeopardizing the integrity of the GP. The sprint race should be independent of the GP. Normal qualifying sets the grid for the GP and the top 15 are reversed for the sprint. Points would be awarded P1-P10 to give more teams opportunities to get in on the action.
Hamilton’s drive proves the reverse grid can really work. The cars at the top are just so much more dominating than the ones at the back (Mazepin was over +1:07 off the pace, that’s nearly a full lap lost in just a 24 lap race)
Even Charles LeClerc agrees, as he told The Race:
Seeing a fast car starting from the back and coming back that much, I think it could be exciting if many fast cars start from the back!
We’ll have to see. I don’t know what the plans are but I’m pretty sure the FIA will look into it and try to find the best solution and the most exciting one, especially for Saturday.
Fernando Alonso had similar feelings:
If you put all the cars in order, they will finish as they started.
We saw if you put a reverse order in or you spice things up like Hamilton, there will be a lot of action, so let’s see what they think for next year.
If money is what Liberty and F1 are trying to get out of these weekends (which we know they are, it’s a business after all), then excitement on all three days is imperative.
But I want to hear from you and get your thoughts on the matter. Do you think the sprint weekends are exciting the way they are, or do you like the idea of a reverse grid sprint?
Tweet at me @vincenzolandino
The Qualifier is a weekly newsletter that explores the world of business, money, and content in Formula 1.
Subscribe now if you would like to join more than 33,000 other industry executives, sports fans, and pro athletes who receive it instantly to their inbox.