Red Bull call for Supercars to flip the grid
THE proposal was slammed as a "gimmick" in Formula One, but Red Bull Holden Racing Team boss Roland Dane has urged Supercars to flip the grid to add more spice to races in its rebooted season.
Supercars has so far only announced the format for its first race back at Sydney Motorsport Park on June 27, which will feature three 130km sprint races and the return of the top-15 shootout.
Dane said the revamped season, on hold since the second round at Albert Park was abandoned, created the perfect opportunity to spice up on-track action with reverse grids in some races.
Watch condensed replays of the 2019 MotoGP season with Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your free trial now & start streaming instantly >
The suggestion of reverse-grid races in Formula One was last week shot down by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who said the sport didn't need a "show format like wrestling".
Despite his star drivers Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen regularly qualifying at the front of the grid in Supercars, Dane said more "unpredictability" could spice up the racing.
"There is an opportunity to spice up the racing and have some more unpredictability in it," Dane said.
"I think all our drivers plus the driving standards observer that we have now in Craig Baird, they are all adult enough to be able to cope with partial or even complete reverse grid racing at some stage during a weekend in an adult way that doesn't produce carnage.
"That could produce some very entertaining racing. Last time it was attempted in Supercars, which we did for half a season in '06 I think, the driving standards were nowhere what it is today.
"There were more cars and the judicial system and the people running it just weren't at the level of Craig Baird. That's what makes me think that it's an opportunity."
Reverse grids have been used throughout the sport's eSeries, but the Triple Eight boss was not optimistic it would get enough support for real-world racing from the rest of pit lane.
"I don't think that it's going to get up because I don't think enough other people support it," he said.
"But I want to provide as much entertainment and as much unpredictability and as much exposure for all the grid at the moment as possible.
"And (reverse grids are) a proven effective way of doing it, particularly with British Touring Cars … over the last decade."
Holden great Mark Skaife has cautioned against a move to reverse grids, arguing the potential cost to teams with vehicle damage, especially with finances tight after the COVID-19 shutdown, were too great.
"I caution the industry to go back to things that we moved away from for a reason," Skaife said.
"I understand that we are looking for a lack of predictability … whatever we do it can't be a gimmick and it's got to be authentic.
"I think in a post-COVID period cost containment is going to be critical … and a full field reverse grid will increase the amount of vehicle damage - there is no argument about that."