Ahead of a planned major overhaul of F1’s rules coming for 2021, F1 owners Liberty Media want to evaluate different ideas – including Saturday qualifying races – at a number of grands prix next season to see if they could be introduced permanently.
F1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn believes that the only way the sport could ensure that changes would be better would be to try them out.
“I would like to see us in 2020 try a few things,” Brawn told Sky. “I think in 2020 we have a stable platform with the cars and things aren’t changing that much, and I think 2020 could be a good opportunity at one or two races to try some variations.
“I don’t see any other way that we logically progress the race format. I think the basic race format is good, but would a sprint race be interesting or some variation in qualifying be interesting?
“I think the teams are up for doing some variations during a Saturday to see if we can touch on a better solution.”
Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer said he was up for trying out new things to see if they were a hit with fans, with a final decision about what happens set to be made at a team meeting scheduled for next month.
“I think the last time we got together, we did discuss about some formats on Saturday to be able to mix up the grids for Sunday,” he said. “We have got further discussions in between Monza and Singapore
“If we are to improve the show there is nothing wrong with trying and seeing how it goes, get some fan feedback and if people like it and it improves the show, I am all for it.”
But other teams are not convinced that the race format experiments in 2020 are a good idea, especially in terms of the potential increase in costs.
HAAS team boss Gunther Steiner said: “What we need to look at is that by changing the format the costs don’t go up.
“If we change the format and it costs a lot more, because you do everything different, there is a point that is not sustainable.”
Asked about the impact of a qualifying race, Steiner added: “That costs more money because you need more spare parts, as you have two races a weekend. You need more MGU-Ks because they can break, so we need to consider all this stuff.”