Reverse-grid races would make F1 like WWE, says Mercedes boss Toto Wolff

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Pierre Gasly sits alone on the podium
Pierre Gasly soaks up his surprise win at Monza last weekend

Reverse-grid races would reduce Formula 1 to a wrestling-style "show", Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff says.

F1 managing director Ross Brawn wants to try replacing qualifying with races started in reverse championship order.

Wolff said: "We should not be designing freak results where it is almost impossible to overtake just because we believe the pecking order should be different.

"This is a meritocracy, it is a sport where best man and best machine wins."

Wolff said that he "liked variability and unpredictability", such as happened at the Italian Grand Prix last weekend when a safety car, red flag and penalty for Lewis Hamilton allowed Alpha Tauri's Pierre Gasly to come through for a surprise victory.

But Wolff added: "No-one wants a winner started from a reverse grid

"It is not worldwide wrestling, where the outcome is completely random.

"If you want to do random, let's make it a show, but the core DNA of the sport is being an entertainment platform. It is not a show. It is not a reality show and it is not Big Brother and I don't think we should be going there."

Mercedes blocked Brawn's plans to try out reverse-grid qualifying races at a handful of races this season, but last week's Italian Grand Prix result has given F1 fresh impetus.

Brawn hopes to use new rules introduced for 2021, which remove the need for unanimity for short-term changes, to reintroduce the idea.

He had hoped that Wolff might acquiesce to the plan at races later this year if Hamilton ties up the championship early.

But Wolff's comments indicate that he will not back down.

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