When Max Verstappen wants to quit F1, the response comes quickly from Formula 1 media. Indeed many pundits and fans have levelled criticism at Max Verstappen for the Dutchman’s attitude. The latest outbursts from Max have again drawn such comments.
One such area of criticism is Verstappens’ comments about Sprint races and the proposed changes coming. Already faced with a packed calendar, Formula One drivers will have to deal with some changes in the coming weeks. This will affect the sprint races, where the drivers will have to qualify. A change that is not to the liking of Max Verstappen who has made it known.
Extra qualifying sessions
The Sprint was taken from the junior formula and the shorter race introduced to F1 in 2021 at three race weekends. For 2023 this has been doubled to six Sprints and the first is next time out in Azerbaijan.
Currently a Sprint weekend sees the regular FP1 session on Friday followed by qualifying which determines the order for the Sprint start on Saturday afternoon. The result of the sprint then sets the grid for the Grand Prix on Sunday.
Gunther Steiner revealed during the team Principal’s press conference the potential revision being discussed for the Sprint.
“Instead of FP2 on a Sprint event on Saturday morning, we do a qualifying and then we are in a situation to evaluate whether one FP [free practice], which would be FP1 [is] enough to get out what we want and go from there.”
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Whilst there is a push to increase the ‘content’ of a weekend, it wasn’t long ago when a compressed two day F1 weekends were under discussion before the latest Concorde agreement was signed. That ship has passed given the recent boom in F1’s popularity.
At the 2023 Australian GP, the Friday practice sessions saw 130,000 in attendance, just 10,000 short of the capacity expected for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen quitting threat
On the sidelines of the Australian Grand Prix a fortnight ago, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen threatened to quit Formula One if there were too many events in the coming seasons:
“We’re going to do all this stuff, the weekend is getting more intense and we’re already doing so many races. So I think that’s not the right way to go about it.
“I understand, of course, that they want to have exciting days, but I think maybe it’s better to reduce the weekend, only race on Saturday and Sunday and make those two days exciting because we’re heading towards seasons where you have at some point 24/25 races, and if we then start adding even more things, it’s not worth it for me.”
Max quitting is old news
However, it’s not the first time that the 25-year-old has revealed he could hang up his helmet.
Last October, he said: “I don’t see myself driving until I’m 40 because I want to also do other stuff. I’m having a lot of fun with what I’m doing right now and I’m still in F1 for a couple more years… I’m signed until 2028.
“After that, it also depends how everything is going but I will probably try to do a few different kinds of racing because it’s important also to try different things.”
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The two-time World Champion has also opened up about his desire to do things away from the race track, meaning that 2028 could be his last year in the sport.
“I don’t know after that. But it also probably depends how competitive we are in ’28. I’ve still got time. I don’t want to make drastic decisions now. I want to do other stuff…
“F1 is amazing and I’ve achieved a lot, and I’m very happy and proud about it… but it’s a lot of travelling and it’s a lot of races. And at one point, what is more important? Is family more important, or is F1 more important? That’s when you need to make your mind up.”
He then told Sports Illustrated: “I have a contract until 2028 and after that I’ll see.
“I don’t want to spend my best years physically just in Formula One. With the races multiplying, 23 or 24 a year is far too many.”
McLaren could be “dead in the water”
The ‘I quit’ response: “He should stop now”
1996 World Champion Damon Hill has reacted to Max Verstappen’s threat to quit Formula One, in comments reported widely in the media, Max’s threat to quit F1 is very unusual. Further, Martin Brundle claimed he would be “surprised” if Verstappen quit while Damon Hill was left baffled” by the threat.
“It’s a bit strange to hear, isn’t it? I mean, what’s he going to do himself? He should stop now, really. He mentioned the pleasure of having closer teams as a priority and I think that’s a very important point. Is he having fun? Because I think sometimes he’s not having fun on his own up front. I think you have to love what you do, otherwise it becomes a chore…”
“Don’t mess around with the format too much”
For Hill, Max’s attitude is odd, explaining that really he is in a privileged position that many would be desperate to do.
“If he doesn’t want to drive in F1 anymore, there are a million other people who will want to drive that Red Bull. I doubt he’ll make good on his threat. I think what he’s trying to say is don’t mess with the format too much, don’t change the basic rules,” concluded Damon Hill.
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Max has a valid point. Liberty/FIA/F1 whoever it is, driven by their greed, are imposing brutal conditions on their drivers. Why LH and Russell have not spoken up? Is it because of their antipathy towards Max? They must fiercely wish for Max to make good on his threat. Even then LH can’t get his 8th WDC unless Toto sabotages Russell’s car. Toto would do anything for his ladylove 🙂