Guest Author - Christine Blachford
Flavio Briatore has been in the news recently. As the head of the current world champions Renault, his comments are always particularly interesting because he is not one to hold back. This time it is the structure of the race weekend that is taking a bashing as Briatore has branded it boring.
For as long as I remember, the weekend has always featured practice, qualifying, then race, but Briatore wants to change all that. He has commented on the most recent changes implemented to spice up the racing, including a single tyre supplier, and engine change freezes, saying they have not made any difference.
The qualifying format was the biggest change, and that does appear to have worked. Previously it was a single lap shot at getting to the top and where you finish in the race affected when you could try your luck at getting a fast qualifying time. This was highly unpopular with both fans and drivers so the powers that be changed it to the current three session knockout scheme. This works much better and is both entertaining and interesting.
Flavio went on to say that he would prefer the two hour race to be cut down into smaller chunks Ė specifically two, of maybe 45 minutes and then an hour Ė with the added excitement of a reverse grid for the second race.
Whilst I agree with Flavio that the races can sometimes be boring, and the changes havenít really made much difference, Iím never going to be a fan of a reverse grid. The two race idea doesnít bother me, because they do that in GP2 and it works quite well. The reverse grid is going to get me all confused. They do the same thing in BTCC and I struggle to understand who is where and why they are where they are. It doesnít seem right for the grid to just be turned upside down for no apparent reason. Like all the teams hard work has been for nothing. And then drivers might try and get tenth or the equivalent, if they know that is the position that is going to be bumped up to first for the second race. It never quite grabbed me in BTCC, and the last time I checked they were still making revisions to the idea.
Iím not one of those fans that doesnít want Formula 1 to change, Iím all for things moving with the times and keeping us all interested. But it has to be something that is really going to make a difference, and sometimes that can be subtle things rather than a complete overhaul of the weekend. I think they really need to concentrate on making overtaking much more of a possibility, that would be a good place to start.