F1 reserve grids could prove to be entertaining but might appear too gimmicky, according to former Ferrari and Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn. Speaking to motorsport.com, Brawn said that while the idea of a reverse grid could lead to entertaining racing, there are doubters for the same as well.
Primarily, doubters emerge because it breaks the meritocracy factor of the sport. A reverse grid will mean rewarding cars for being slower and tilting the sporting factor ore towards entertainment from the sport. Brawn said:
"There’s always this debate about reverse grids. Reverse grids would be pretty entertaining. I think most of us would love to see what would happen. But there is an element of our fans who think that’s getting too synthetic, too World Wrestling sort of thing, and that you should reward the best guys and so on. I get that as well and I think we’ve got to be very cautious on that side of things."
Speaking about the introduction of the sprint race in F1, Brawn talked about how it was still keeping the meritocratic nature of the sport intact. He said:
“You have a sprint race [now]. And, for me, a sprint race can only add because it’s a competition, it’s a contest, best guy wins, smartest guy wins – it’s a meritocracy. It’s just an additional demonstration of the drivers’ talents during a race weekend."
"I think the sprint is great. I can’t see why anyone would really have a problem with that. That should, if they’ve got an open mind, appeal to all our fans. I can see why a reverse grid could be divisive and could unsettle some of our fans and that’s something we’ve got to [keep in mind].”
F1 needs to continue to strike the balance between entertainment and sport
In the last few years, changes have been brought in to improve the "show" as Stefano Domenicali, the F1 CEO, tends to put it. DRS was one of the steps taken almost a decade back. Tires that degraded and lent themselves to varied strategies was another change that was brought in.
One of the more recent ones has been the reintroduction of ground effect in modern F1 with new technical regulations. To add to this, the sprint race introduced last year has had more or less a positive response as well.
Having said that, there's a point when all of this becomes too much and these steps start taking away from the sporting element of things. On that front, F1 needs to be careful. They should not go beyond the point where the entertainment element takes over from the sport that hardcore fans love and adore.