In this work, we consider an extension of symmetric teleparallel gravity, namely, f (Q ) gravity, where the fundamental block to describe spacetime is the nonmetricity, Q . Within this formulation of gravitation, we perform an observational analysis of several modified f (Q ) models using the redshift approach, where the f (Q ) Lagrangian is reformulated as an explicit function of the redshift, f (z ). Various different polynomial parametrizations of f (z ) are proposed, including new terms which would allow for deviations from the Λ Cold Dark Matter model. Given a variety of observational probes, such as the expansion rate data from early type galaxies, type Ia supernovae, quasars, gamma ray bursts, baryon acoustic oscillations data, and cosmic microwave background distance priors, we have checked the validity of these models at the background level in order to verify if this new formalism provides us with plausible alternative models to explain the late time acceleration of the Universe. Indeed, this novel approach provides a different perspective on the formulation of observationally reliable alternative models of gravity.