Red Bull boss Christian Horner says Mercedes has opposed Formula 1’s proposal to introduce reverse-grid races because it was “too much of a variable”.

At a teleconference meeting involving F1 teams, the FIA and Liberty Media last Friday, a format idea change was put forward to trail a short reverse-grid qualifying race set by reverse championship order on the second weekend of double-header events at the same circuit to differentiate between consecutive races.

Unanimity among all 10 teams is required for the plan to be voted through and then approved by the World Motor Sport Council, however Mercedes is understood not to be likely to support the proposal.

The heavily-delayed 2020 season is set to begin with back-to-back behind closed doors races in Austria on July 5 and July 12, with another double-header event planned at Silverstone on August 2 and August 9.

F1 has been pushing for experimental changes to its race weekend schedule in recent years but had to abandon plans to trail different formats in 2020, including reverse grid races at the French, Belgian and Russian rounds.

Amid a fresh push for sprint-style races, Horner believes it would be the “perfect time to try something different” but added that Mercedes is pushing back such a change because it “would interfere with Lewis Hamilton’s championship campaign”.

"I think we've got a unique situation this year, and having two races at the same venue - it would seem the perfect time to try something different at that second event,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.

"Otherwise, with stable weather conditions, we're likely to have the same output in race two as we have in race one.

"[The proposal] seemed to get overwhelming support. The only person that wasn't particularly supportive of it was Toto because he thought it would interfere with Lewis' seventh world championship campaign, and it would be too much of a variable.”

Mercedes is aiming to achieve an unprecedented seventh consecutive world championship double in 2020 by continuing its unbeaten streak throughout the V6 hybrid era, while Hamilton has the opportunity to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles.

A formal vote on the reverse-grid proposal is expected to take place next week.

 

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