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  • Writer's pictureRhonan Colquhoun

Feature Writing Ass 1: Reverse Grids would kill the core of F1

Updated: Oct 23, 2020

College is back under-way and my first assessment of Second Year Practical Journalism at the City of Glasgow College was for Feature Writing. The first of five assessments for this topic was really enjoyable to write and I had to be quite precise with what I wrote adhering to the word count and in making sure it was easy to be read by the casual reader.

I passed this assessment with flying colours and received great feedback from my lecturer.

So here is my opinion column of 500 words, aimed at a broadsheet newspaper.

Reverse Grids would kill the core of F1

How do you make something unpredictable out of something that is generally quite predictable? You can tweak the rules and change the regulations. In its 70th anniversary, Formula One is considering a change which would kill the fundamental core of the sport.

The idea of introducing “Reverse Grids” has floated around the paddock in the past few years with very little support but since the Italian GP this year, the idea has gained a lot of momentum.

It would change the format of an F1 race weekend and while it works in other racing series, such as F2 and the BTCC, the essence of competition would near-enough vanish.

The main benefit of reverse grids is that it would provide better racing with the “best” drivers on the grid, who are in the better off teams, starting last with the drivers in the teams that are not as well off, at the front. Depending on the length of the circuit and the amount of laps, it’s almost inevitable that the drivers who have superior cars and starting at the back, would make their way to the front of the field with the drivers who started at the front, getting shuffled backwards as the race goes on.

When Lewis Hamilton, who was leading the Italian GP, was given a time penalty and all of the top drivers in the top teams were pretty much out of contention, it gave the drivers who don’t normally find themselves fighting at the front a fantastic opportunity to bag decent points, stand on the podium with a chance to win. While it was truly a chaotic race by F1 standards, with crashes, a race stoppage, mistakes by the top teams and drivers which led to unfamiliar names at the top, a situation like this never happens but the excitement during the race was far bigger than it normally is.

Eventually, after a long and hard battle, Pierre Gasly wrote his name into the history books by becoming the sport’s 109th winner.

Formula One is the top-tier of single-seater racing and is a very tough, demanding, financially burdening and elite sport. To get into a race seat with one of the teams on the grid, you have to be more than a good driver. There’s no guarantee that you’ll succeed, most don’t. Motor-racing dates back to the early 1920s with the Formula One Championship starting in 1950. Even before the beginning of the championship, it was a chance for the rich and famous to show up in the cars that were designed and had the engine power to be quick.

Everyone involved in the sport works extremely hard but the people who work that extra bit harder should be rewarded and the idea of reversed grids throws that completely out of the window and damages the reputation the history of the sport.

Instead, F1 should bring the racing closer together organically, by changing the regulations, rather than relying on superficial methods.

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