Verstappen: sprint races go against F1’s DNA
Max Verstappen has launched his latest rant over sprint races arguing they go against the “DNA of Formula 1” as further changes are planned to the format for this year.
After running three sprint races in 2021 and 2022, F1 is doubling the number of sprint events this year, with the next race in Azerbaijan scheduled to host the first one of the season.
But F1 revealed plans over the Australian Grand Prix weekend to shake-up sprint weekends with the addition of a second qualifying session that would take place on Saturday morning and set the grid for the sprint.
This would see Friday’s qualifying session set the order for the main race rather than the current format where the results from the sprint race make up the grid for the grand prix.
Verstappen has long held a disapproval for sprint races since they were introduced to the weekend schedule and the world champion reiterated his dislike of the format when asked his thoughts on the proposed tweaks.
“I’m not a fan of it at all,” Verstappen said, as quoted by The Race.
“When we do all that kind of stuff the weekend is going to become more intense and we’re already doing so many races. So that’s not the right way to go about it.
“I understand of course they wanted to have every day exciting but then it’s maybe better to reduce the weekend, only race on Saturday and Sunday and make those two days exciting.
“We are adding into seasons that will soon have 24 or 25 races and if you start adding even more stuff, it’s not worth it for me, I’m not enjoying that.
“For me, a sprint race is all about surviving, it’s not about racing. When you have a quick car there’s nothing to risk.
“I prefer to just keep my car alive and make sure you have a good race car for Sunday. Even if you change the format, I don’t find it’s the DNA of F1 to do these kind of sprint races.
“F1 is about getting the most out of it in qualifying and having an amazing Sunday with a good long race distance, that’s the DNA of the sport.”
F1 is aiming to get the changes ratified ahead of the Baku race that takes place after the four-week in-season break at the end of April.
It is understood the idea of separating the sprint races from the grand prix itself has gained the support of the teams.
Verstappen believes closing the field together to allow more teams to fight for wins is the answer to improving the spectacle rather than changing formats.
“I don’t understand or I don’t know why we should change that because I think the action has been good and how do you get even more action?” Verstappen said.
“It’s about getting the cars closer, getting more teams able to fight for the win. I think naturally the show will be great.
“If we have six or seven teams fighting for the win that would be insane and you really don’t really need to change anything.”