F1: Verstappen tells F1 to ‘scrap’ sprint format

(GMM) Max Verstappen says Formula 1 should “scrap” the entire sprint race weekend concept.

The world champion’s disdain for the “artificial” idea was worsened on Saturday when he finished only third behind Charles Leclerc and his own Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.

But seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton put his thumbs up to the sprint, with the format tweaked for its 2023 debut this weekend with the addition of an extra short qualifying or ‘sprint shootout’ session.

“I generally like it,” Hamilton said.

“A lot of time is usually wasted in a weekend, so I think it’s good like this.”

2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Saturday – Sam Bloxham

But according to Verstappen, Liberty Media-owned F1 has gone too far with its campaign of improving the ‘show’.

“It’s like being 3-0 up in football and then they say ‘ok reset it to 0-0 and let’s go again’. I was bored in the qualifying. It’s too artificial.

“I’m like ‘my God, another qualifying?’ It’s not real racing.”

Williams’ Alex Albon agrees with the world championship leader.

“Honestly, I don’t really like it,” he said. “Only the top teams get points in the sprints so it just puts them another step ahead.”

Ferrari’s Leclerc disagrees slightly, insisting that he doesn’t “hate” the sprint weekend format.

“I think this is a better format than last year’s sprint format,” he said. “But I wouldn’t want it to be the standard format in the future.

“I think it’s fine if we have three, four races like this in a year.”

Pole position qualifier Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari (C), Second placed qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing (L) and Third placed qualifier Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing (R) attend the press conference after qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit on April 28, 2023 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen, however, has another idea.

“Just scrap the whole thing,” he said.

“I think it’s just important to go back to what we had and make sure that every team can fight for a win – that’s what we have to try and aim for. Not try to implement all this kind of artificial excitement.”

“I got bored through today’s qualifying to be honest. I like to have one particular qualifying where you put everything in it and that was yesterday, which I of course enjoyed. Then you have to do it again today like ‘my god, another qualifying’, I just don’t really enjoy that.”

Verstappen said F1 should focus on trying to have more than one or two teams that can compete for wins and less on creating new formats.


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