Lewis Hamilton says he is “not opposed” to the idea of F1 shaking up its race weekend format but insists any changes must be “thought about properly”.
F1 is considering plans to experiment with several Saturday qualifying ‘sprint’ races in 2020 ahead of any full-time changes in time for the sport’s wider overhaul in 2021.
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The 2020 experiment is believed to centre on a reserve-championship sprint race, where the result would set the grid for the Grand Prix on the Sunday. Sky Sports understands there is a vote on the idea next week.
Were such a Saturday race to take place now in 2019, Williams’ George Russell would start on pole with title leader Hamilton lining up last.
Leading drivers were critical of the prospect of reverse grids in Singapore, with F1 managing director Ross Brawn subsequently stressing that the plans for 2020 would be purely experimental and a “small sample to establish the directions for the future”.
While far from convinced about the use of reverse grids, Hamilton says shuffling the long-standing schedule of a Grand Prix weekend is not necessarily a bad idea.
“I am not opposed to changing the weekend format because it can be very boring,” he said in Sochi. “The same format every single weekend for 21 going into 22, 23 races.
“And on some races like Singapore, maybe if you made some adjustments on that weekend with a different format. Like Monaco, it’s not a great race but maybe you do something different.
“So I’m absolutely up for that as long as it’s thought about properly and it’s just shooting in the dark, which a lot of the time very super-intelligent people do.”
Asked speficially about the reverse-championship grid format, Hamilton said: “That’s the one that I know about and I don’t particularly think it’s a good idea.
“But maybe in some places where there’s a massive deficit between first and last maybe that’s not that bad. Where’s there’s a track you can actually overtake in, it could be a little bit more exciting.”
Sky F1’s Jenson Button on a Saturday sprint race
“I do like us mixing it up with us having a qualification race. I think it will make them work on aerodynamics in a different way. There will be very different strategies coming into the weekends and also designing the cars.