Formula 1’s managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn says the sport plans to push ahead with “experimental” tweaks to the race weekend and qualifying format for 2020.

Discussions are ongoing between F1 and teams about the possibility of introducing changes to the qualifying system, including reverse-grid qualifying races, to be trailed at certain grands prix during the 2020 season.

The ideas were met with mixed reviews from drivers and team principals alike across the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel particularly critical of the potential adjustments.

In F1’s post-race press release, Brawn moved to clarify Liberty Media’s stance, saying: “In recent days I’ve read a variety of statements from drivers and pundits concerning ideas to make the race weekend format more spectacular.

“To try to clarify the situation and avoid misunderstandings, there are discussions about experimenting in 2020 with changes to the qualifying format with the aim of making a Grand Prix weekend a little less predictable.

“I want to emphasise the word ‘experiment’ because this is what it is about – a small sample to establish the directions for the future.

“We are all too aware that the current qualifying format is exciting and spectacular but what is also important is to make sure that the race, the highlight of the weekend, is the best it can be.

“And since, no matter how many simulations you run, there’s no measure more accurate than the track, Formula 1, the teams and the FIA are studying the possibility of a revised format for a small number of events for next season.

“With stable sporting and technical regulations in place for 2020 it is the perfect time for such evaluations.”

Brawn stressed that F1 should not be “afraid” to try out new things in a bid to make the sport more exciting in the future.

“No decision has been taken yet because we are finalising all the details, but feedbacks received so far are, in the majority, positive,” he added.

“I understand that the purists might be concerned, but we should not be afraid to conduct an experiment otherwise we cannot progress.

“We don't want change for the sake of change; we want to improve our sport, because, rather like the development of the cars, if you stand still you risk slipping backwards.”

But Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is among a number of those wary about potential changes, warning that F1 needs to be “very careful” with any experiment.

“We don’t want to appear uncooperative if new ideas are being brought up - we want to be open-minded,” he said.

“My personal opinion is that we have a really strong weekend format that is qualifying and then the grand prix, which is the main event on the Sunday.

“We should be very careful with experimenting with hundreds of millions of audiences throughout the season.”

 

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