June 6, 2023

More sprint races will make F1 ‘not worth it’ · RaceFans


Max Verstappen has repeated his warning to Formula 1 that expanding its sprint race format may drive him out of the sport.

The Red Bull driver said yesterday he “won’t be around for too long” if F1 continues to add more sprint races and other competitive sessions to race weekends. The series is considering a change to the format when it holds its first sprint race of the season in Baku at the end of the month.

F1 has increased the number of sprint races this year from three to six, as part of its longest ever 23-round calendar. Verstappen says he is “not a fan of it at all.”

“When we’re going to do all that kind of stuff, the weekend becomes even more intense, and we’re already doing so many races. So I think that is not the right way to go at it.”

His comments put him at odds with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, who has repeatedly called for the series to have fewer practice sessions compared to competitive running. Verstappen says they are going about it the wrong way.

“I understand, of course, they want to have like basically every day exciting,” he said. “But then I think maybe it’s better to just reduce the weekend, only race on Saturday and Sunday and make those two days exciting.”

Verstappen repeated his warning that the more F1 experiments with the race weekend format, the less he enjoys competing in the series. “We’re heading into seasons where you have at one point 24, 25 races because that’s where we’re going to head into.

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“And if we start adding even more stuff, it’s not worth it for me anyway. I’m not enjoying that.”

While F1 has talked up the entertainment value of sprint races, Verstappen doesn’t agree they add to the spectacle. “For me a sprint race is all about surviving. It’s not about racing.

“For me, when you have a quick car, there’s nothing to risk. I prefer to just keep my car alive and make sure that you have a good race car for Sunday.”

F1 has already revised the sprint race format since it was introduced in 2021 and is considering further changes. But Verstappen does not believe more tweaks are what’s needed.

“Even if you change the format, I just do not find it is the DNA of Formula 1 to do these kind of sprint races.

“F1 is about getting the most out of it in qualifying and then have an amazing Sunday, a good long race distance. That’s the DNA of the sport and I don’t understand or I don’t know why we should change that.”

He urged the series to concentrate on improving the quality of competition between the teams instead of changing the format of its events.

“I think the action has been good and how you get even more action is about getting the cars closer, getting more teams able to fight for the win,” he said. “I think naturally the show will be great if we have six, seven teams already fighting for a win, that would be insane, and you really don’t need to change anything.”

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