Reverse Grid Races on Table for Formula 1 in 2021

11 September 2020

The Italian GP was one of fireworks on the weekend, especially when Pierre Gasly nabbed victory on the podium ahead of the top three, after coming from 10th on the grid. But how did this happen exactly? Unless you were otherwise engaged, you’ll have been hooked on every turn, but for those of you who were unable to witness the race, you missed out on some fireworks!

Hamilton backwards by penalty

Lewis Hamilton as ever dominated the race from the start, but things were not about to go to plan for the British driver. At first, the race seemed to be going windingly and Lewis did what he does best; he sped off with almost half-a-minute lead over the driver in second position, but amid the somewhat seemingly easy race, a dramatic event took hold!
Kevin Magnussen’s Haas broke down on the outside of Monza’s first corner but in doing so, smashed into the safety barriers and this instantly saw the safety car take to the tarmac. Just before this, Lewis was summoned to the pit lane, and before he could get there, the decision was made by officials to replace the barrier and this would result in the race being suspended so it could be done in a timely and safe manner.

Back of the Pack

Hamilton, along with Antonio Giovinazzi, the Alfa Romeo driver, both pitted as ordered but on the way to the pit, they drove through two red hard-to-see ‘X’ lights – hard to see red lights and as a result of this, nth received a 10-second stop-and-go penalty. Hamilton fought back from last position on the grid after the restart to 18th position and blames losing the number 1 spot to the “weird” situation in the pit lane!

Approaching FIA race director Michael Masi after the red-flag delay, Hamilton was shocked to learn of what he had done. He said: “There were no signs that had an ‘X’ on it. I actually didn’t see them as I was looking elsewhere. So, there was not really much more for me to do. If you’re going through a right [hand corner] you’re not looking left, you’re looking over to the right and gauging the gap between you and the white line.

Hamilton continued: “Naturally, also when there’s a car that’s pulled over on the right-hand side, you’re conscious of the marshals. Generally, I don’t remember any time coming here when that was the indication for the pit lane closing, I’ve never actually known that would be the left. So that was a new experience.”

Because of this, Reverse-grid sprint races are on the table yet again, after first being discussed in 2006. With this formula, teams would set their cars up differently, but they wouldn’t be implemented at each GP race. According to ESPN, “The idea is quite simple: on Saturday, a sprint race (much shorter than your conventional grand prix) would take place instead of the current Q1-Q2-Q3 qualifying format, with a starting grid set in reverse order of the championship standings. The result of that race would then set the grid for the grand prix on Sunday.”

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