It’s incredible to think that the reverse grid Sprint races are seriously being considered for 2024, five years on from Sebastian Vettel comically labelling the idea as “complete bulls**t”.
Since Sprint races were first introduced in 2021, they’ve been met with large waves of criticism, due to them often being uneventful.
Roll back the clock to 2019 and even the races were fairly average, as Lewis Hamilton or Mercedes in general were often cruising to victory.
As a result, the idea of making the races reverse grid was first raised in 2019, prior to the Singapore Grand Prix that year.
The prospect of reverse grid races was actually discussed by Charles Leclerc, Hamilton and Vettel back in 2019 at the Marina Bay Circuit, with all three having been against the idea.
“I would not be happy,” Leclerc said whilst smirking, during the press conference after qualifying at the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix.
“I’m a lot happier to start first tomorrow. I don’t think it is the solution for Formula 1. I think the best should win and start from the best place and not in a reverse order. So, I don’t think it’s the solution.”
Somewhat ironically, Hamilton has recently admitted that he’s in favour of the Sprint races following a reverse grid format, perhaps because Mercedes are rarely towards the front.
Despite this, he was completely against the idea in 2019, on his way to a sixth Drivers’ Championship.
“I don’t really know what to say to it – the people who proposed it don’t really know what they are talking about,” Hamilton said.
Vettel arguably had the strongest take on reverse grid races and labelled them as “complete bulls**t”, resulting in laughter throughout the media present in the press conference.
“I think it’s complete bulls**t, to be honest,” Vettel said, following a pause when he was asked for his thoughts on the topic.
After Hamilton joked that he was thinking the same thing as the four-time World Champion, Vettel acknowledged that the sport needs more exciting races but that making the races start with a reversed grid was the “complete wrong approach”.
“I think we know that we want to improve things, it’s very clear we need to string the field more together and have better racing,” Vettel added.
“It’s just a plaster – I don’t know which genius came up with this but it’s not the solution. It’s the complete wrong approach.”