Max Verstappen lashes out again at proposed changes to Formula 1. There may be some alterations in Formula 1 over the next few weeks. Indeed, the organisers are planning qualifying sessions for the sprint races, which would add to the number of events for drivers who are already faced with a very dense calendar. Max Verstappen is opposed to this plan and has made it known.
Formula 1 wants to innovate yet again and to do this it is planning to add qualifying events that are independent of those that define the starting grid of the Grand Prix. These qualifications concern the much-discussed “sprint race”, which is not necessarily appreciated by the drivers. This could lead to even more fatigue and Max Verstappen is not at all thrilled with the idea.
“I don’t like it!”
“I’m not a fan of it at all,” says Verstappen,
“I think when we put this kind of thing in place, the weekend becomes even more intense when we already have a lot of races to go.
“I don’t think it’s the right way to do it. I understand, of course, that they want every day to be exciting, but I think it might be better to just shorten the weekend, to have races only on Saturday and Sunday and make those two days exciting. We’re heading towards seasons of 24 or 25 Grands Prix – because that’s where we’re going – and if we start adding even more things, it’s not worth it to me anyway.
“I don’t like it,” Max Verstappen said in comments reported by Motorsport.com.
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“Not in the DNA of Formula 1.”
“Even if you change the format, I don’t find it’s in the DNA of Formula 1 to do these kinds of sprint races. In F1, it’s about getting the best out of qualifying and then having an amazing Sunday with long race distances.
“That’s the DNA of the sport and I don’t understand or know why we should change that as I think the spectacle is good. And to achieve even more spectacle, you have to bring the cars closer together, so that more teams can fight for victory.
“And I think that the show would naturally be excellent. If we already have six or seven teams fighting for victory, it will be crazy. In that case, there’s no need to change anything,” concluded Max Verstappen.
This new format could be tested at the next Grand Prix in Baku.
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More changes in F1 coming
This potential qualifying for the sprint racing isn’t the only changes afoot that will likely go ahead midseason, with tyre allocations for ‘normal’ qualifying being implemented this season.
This season, Formula One will experiment with a new qualifying format at two grand prix weekends, starting with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola where teams will test the alternative tyre allocation.
The new format is to restrict the drivers’ choice of tyres during qualifying by requiring them to use Hard tyres in Q1, Medium tyres in Q2 and Soft tyres for the top ten in Q3, whereas they are currently free to choose the tyres they want throughout qualifying.
Previous experiment gone wrong
For the 2016 season an elimination system was created for qualifying which knocked out a driver every 90 seconds. There were still 3 qualifying sessions but this proved confusing because a number of drivers were eliminated while on their first flying lap.
The problem was further exacerbated when in Q3 the teams decided to send their drivers out for their quick laps at the beginning of the session to avoid elimination. This meant the second part of Q3 saw an empty track with no action.
The TV graphics were entertaining though as they showed a driver being knocked out every 90 seconds, and as the camera cut to the relevant racer he was often out of the car chatting to the mechanics.
This format survived just the first two events of the season then everyone agreed to revert to the current format.
In conclusion then, perhaps Max Verstappen is correct to think that such changes, in particular when implemented midseason, might not be such a good idea.
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Turn up the volume! 🔊
Alonso goes for a lap, around the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, in the legendary Renault R25! 🤩#BelgianGP | #F1 pic.twitter.com/FBmOuMOJf2
— Paul McGinnes 🏁 (@PaulMcG92) April 10, 2023
Having previously said he might quit racing in F1 at 2028-end when his current contract stint ends, his unhappiness about race weekend format changes could lead to him quitting even sooner.