F1 to consider reversing the grid to promote better races

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Formula One could force its fastest cars to start from the middle of the grid to improve racing.

The reverse-grid proposal is expected to be made by F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone in a meeting between series stakeholders in Geneva on Tuesday, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said on Monday.

The top qualifiers would be dropped on the grid to keep them from pulling away early, in a bid to try to make F1 more attractive to fans and television audiences. The changes could be in effect as early as 2017 if an agreement is reached.

“There’s an opportunity to do it properly and come up with a great set of regulations for 2017,” Horner said on the first day of preseason testing in Barcelona. “Tomorrow is really a great opportunity to do something fantastic for the fans, to come up with a car that is absolutely spectacular. And I think that’s what we should be aiming to do.”

Ecclestone said this week in an interview with the Daily Mail in England that F1 “is the worst it has ever been,” and he “wouldn’t spend money to take (his) family to watch a race.”

The meeting will involve teams, promoters, and FIA, motorsport’s governing body. It could be the last chance for an agreement in time for the 2017 season. Changes made before a March 1 deadline can be approved by a majority of the stakeholders, but after that a unanimous decision would be needed, making it virtually impossible, as the top teams usually prefer to keep things unchanged.

The rule changes that will be put on the negotiating table were first discussed a few months ago, Horner said.

The Red Bull boss said Ecclestone was “quite keen on” the reverse-grid proposal.

To push drivers in qualifying, points would be awarded to the top qualifiers, and the pole winner would keep the honor statistically. The rule is used in many other series, including the GP2, considered F1’s second-tier series.

Horner said double points for the final race and other chances would also likely be discussed in Geneva.

“Let’s see what happens,” he said. “(Ecclestone) wants to shake things up a bit. He is a promoter, he’s got to sell Formula One around the world, and he wants it to be the most exciting and spectacular that it can possibly be.”

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