Alex Massie

How to fix Formula One?

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It's years since I was last much of a petrol-head, but I see that at least Patrick Head is thinking of ways to reinvigorate Formula One and win back lapsed fans:

A radical idea to improve the spectacle of Formula One and make overtaking easier has been proposed by Williams team co-owner Patrick Head.

The veteran says races can be boring and wants the fastest cars to start at the back and the slowest at the front.

"I would like to see the grids in reverse order of championship position," Head told BBC Sport.

"It's the same for everybody, and over a whole season the right guy would still win the championship."

Head, who has been involved in F1 for more than 30 years and is one of the most respected engineers in the sport, feels his idea will "very much upset the purists".

But he said current proposals to facilitate overtaking and improve the spectacle were unlikely to work and urged the FIA, the sport's governing body, to "be a bit more adventurous".

I actually proposed something very similar to this in an op-ed for Scotland on Sunday six or seven years ago (can;t find it online, alas). The idea is neat and compelling save for one problem: how would you ensure that teams went as fast as they could in qualifying when there was no incentive - indeed, quite the reverse - to go quickly? No, the way to fix Formula One is to have a random draw for starting positions.

This would obviously introduce an additional slice of random fortune to the season but, over the course of 16 or more races, the chances are that drivers are going to enjoy as many starts near the front of the grid as at the back. There'd be no need for qualifying sessions, of course, but at least the racing would be more exciting...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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