Ross Brawn reacts to format criticism, says F1 can't be afraid to experiment

Start of the Singapore Grand Prix

Ross Brawn has stressed that Formula 1 is not striving to make wholesale changes to its format but says it cannot be afraid to experiment.

Formula 1 and the FIA are in the process of evaluating whether to introduce qualifying races, in place of qualifying, at three grands prix in 2020, as a wider expriment for the 2021 season.

It is understood that the current proposal involves the potential for the qualifying race grid to be set by reverse points order, with a duration of around 20 laps, in order to replicate the usual tyre and engine usage in a normal qualifying session.

Any proposed format delivered at this stage still needs unanimous approval from all 10 Formula 1 teams if the changes are to be readied for 2020.

Leading Formula 1 drivers have criticised the proposed development – Sebastian Vettel went as far as to call it "bulls**t" – but Brawn has defended the concept, reckoning ideas need to be trialled for the good of the sport longer term.

"Speaking of regulations, in recent days I’ve read a variety of statements from drivers and pundits concerning ideas to make the race weekend format more spectacular," said Brawn. "To try to clarify the situation and avoid misunderstandings, there are discussions about experimenting in 2020 with changes to the qualifying format with the aim of making a Grand Prix weekend a little less predictable.

"I want to emphasise the word ‘experiment’ because this is what it is about – a small sample to establish the directions for the future.

"We are all too aware that the current qualifying format is exciting and spectacular but what is also important is to make sure that the race, the highlight of the weekend, is the best it can be. And since, no matter how many simulations you run, there’s no measure more accurate than the track."

Brawn insists no definite decision has been made on what will be trialled, but said overall feedback had been positive.

"Formula 1, the teams and the FIA are studying the possibility of a revised format for a small number of events for next season. With stable sporting and technical regulations in place for 2020 it is the perfect time for such evaluations.

"No decision has been taken yet because we are finalising all the details, but feedbacks received so far are, in the majority, positive.

"I understand that the purists might be concerned, but we should not be afraid to conduct an experiment otherwise we cannot progress. We don't want change for the sake of change; we want to improve our sport, because, rather like the development of the cars, if you stand still you risk slipping backwards."