Leading Formula One drivers have slammed a “reverse grid” qualification proposal to liven up the sport, with Sebestian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton among those voicing their opposition to the scheme.
Current rules make overtaking difficult and the finishing order varies little from the starting grid, leading to a sometimes dull afternoon for spectators once drivers have cleared the first turn.
Formula One owners Liberty Media have been exploring methods to shake up the starting order, including swapping the running order so the fastest qualifiers start from the back.
Nothing has yet been decided but changes could come into effect as soon as next year.
Ferrari’s Vettel did not mince his words when asked about the proposal ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.
“I think it’s complete bullshit, to be honest,” he said. “I don’t know which genius came up with this but it’s not the solution. It’s completely the wrong approach.”
Reigning champ Lewis Hamilton was also scathing. “I don’t really know what to say to it. People that propose that don’t really know what they’re talking about,” said the Briton, who leads the title race by 63 points.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who edged out Hamilton’s Mercedes and Vettel for pole in Singapore, said he “would not be happy” with the rule change.
“I’m a lot happier to start first tomorrow but yeah, I don’t think it’s the solution for Formula One,” the 21-year-old said. “I think the best shall win and start in the best place and not reversing that order. I don’t think it’s the solution.”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said any change risked putting off fans. “My opinion is we have a really strong weekend format,” he said. “We should be very careful with experimenting with audiences of hundreds of millions throughout the season.”