Coronavirus: Mercedes opposed to reverse-grid qualifying races in F1 this year, claims Horner

Tom Webber

London, June 1: Mercedes are opposed to reverse-grid qualifying races being introduced in Formula One this season because it could hurt Lewis Hamilton's title chances, says Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

With the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc with F1's 2020 calendar there has been a push for a change to the qualifying format at tracks that host more than one grand prix.

Horner said the proposal of sprint races with a start order based on the reversed championship position to determine the grid for the main event on the second Sunday received "overwhelming support".

However, he believes Mercedes are seemingly unwilling to experiment with defending champion Hamilton chasing a record-equalling seventh title this year.

"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.

"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.

"Having races being at the same venue for two consecutive weekends would be a logical and timely place to introduce and try something.

"I think the prospect of drivers having to race through the field on the Sunday for the feature race, having to start from the back of the grid based on championship position, I think would be something really entertaining for the fans, something positive for Formula One and something we really shouldn't be afraid of trying."

The F1 season will belatedly get under way with the first race in Austria on July 5.

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