Sebastian Vettel has slammed the idea to use a reverse grid format in Formula 1, calling it “complete bulls**t.”

Formula 1 bosses are looking into the possibility of holding a qualifying race at three grands prix in 2020 that would see the grid start in reverse championship order as part of possible format changes.

While plans remain in the investigative stage, and would require unanimous agreement from teams to go ahead, Vettel was among the drivers to push back against the idea of using a reverse grid.

“I think it’s complete bullshit to be honest,” Vettel said. “I think we know that if you want to improve things, it’s very clear, you need to string the field together, to have better racing.

“It’s just a plaster. I don’t know which genius came up with this, but it’s not the solution. I think it’s completely wrong.”

Vettel’s thoughts were echoed by championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who said he thought “the people that proposed that don’t really know what they’re talking about.”

Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly warned against breaking a system that currently works, the existing format having been in place since 2006.

“I think I quite like the way it is at the moment with Q1, Q2, Q3, is a great challenge for us drivers to really nail the lap. It’s the battle, who is the fastest on-track over one lap,” Gasly said.

“I think it would be a shame to lose that qualifying format, which is a really exciting part of the weekend. But if it makes the show a lot better, then why not? Let's see what happens.

“I think there is more focus on our side as drivers to change the cars to make them more raceable in a way that we can follow each other, make them lighter, make the tyres a bit more robust.

“I think this is what we need to focus on rather than changing the format which is quite exciting.”

Racing Point chief Otmar Szafnauer confirmed the teams had given the FIA the go-ahead to investigate the plans further, but stressed unanimous agreement would be required to set it into the rules for 2020.

“We decided to go forward with that, to investigate it, because for this to happen next year we need unanimous agreement,” Szafnauer said.

“The FIA asked and said ‘we don’t want to waste all our time asking these questions if one of you is going to say ‘“forget it”’, which kind of makes sense.

“We all said go ahead and answer the questions. So it could happen. But we do need unanimity for that to happen in 2020, and it’s hard to get unanimity in Formula 1.”

 

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