Williams technical chief Pat Symonds believes the introduction of a reverse-grid system would force teams to design overtaking-friendly cars, which could benefit the sport as a whole.
Formula 1 bosses are set to meet this week to sign-off on new technical regulations for 2017, but there are concerns the new rules won’t aid overtaking and the status quo will remain, albeit with the cars lapping slightly quicker.
An idea to introduce a reverse-grid qualifying race on Saturday has been discussed, and although unlikely, Symonds believes it would provide enough of an incentive to force F1 designers to consider how their cars handle in the turbulent wake of another car and how best to utilise that – something they don’t currently do.
“The incentive we have in all motorsport is try and put our car on pole and lead every lap of the race,” Symonds told Sky Sports. “That’s what your design aim is. So you don’t worry too much about running in turbulent air.
“If you turn things round a little bit, and say, ‘no matter how good your car is, it’s going to be running in turbulent air’, you might then say, ‘actually the best racing car I can make that will ultimately be the most successful over a season is one that is quick in nice clean air, but also works well in turbulent air’,” he added.
“Unfortunately, being racing people, we’d also probably work on trying to destroy the aerodynamics of the car behind us!”
When asked if such an idea could be pushed through for 2017, he replied: “I think it’s too late now. The regulations have to be published [by May 1st].
“I really hope it’s not too late to start some fundamental thinking [for future seasons]. I think that’s what we’ve been guilty of not doing in Formula 1.
“It can be done, but someone’s got to pay for it, someone’s got to do it, and we’ve almost got to be forced into it to wake up and actually produce what the public want.”