Max Verstappen insists the format changes to the Formula One Sprint weekend will have no impact on him despite threatening recently to quit the sport if it strayed too far from its traditional format.
With six Sprint events this season then one in every four F1 weekend is set to change from the historical setup with 3 practice sessions, qualifying and the Grand Prix.
Hamilton dismisses new Sprint format
The FIA has mandated this week that the first three of this year’s Sprint weekends will drop the Saturday morning practice session and replace it with an additional Sprint qualifying. The Friday afternoon qualifying will now set the grid for the Grand Prix on Sunday.
Lewis Hamilton cast his verdict on the changes noting ironically of the Sprint race, “Before, where you finished was where you qualified for the [Sunday] race. Now it is a practice session but there are points at the end of it.”
The Sprint is now a stand alone event on the Saturday whereas in previous seasons the result of the 100km race would set the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
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Verstappen ‘makes no difference’
Max Verstappen is non plussed by the alterations this weekend claiming it will make little difference to how he goes about racing.
“Once you’re up front [in sprint], it’s not making a massive difference,” Verstappen told Sky Sports, when asked about the sprint format changes.
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No risk of a “massive shunt”
Then the world champions addressed concerns expressed that Baku was the wrong choice of venue for additional racing due ton its high speed nature around narrow streets.
“The risk of a massive shunt… I don’t see it being very different to what it was in the previous sprint weekends. I think there will be a bit more chaos around anyway because of the extra qualifying.
“This track is usually quite chaotic anyway right, this will only make it a bit more chaotic. From my side, I don’t think it will make much difference – just get the points, get it over with and focus on the race.”
The Red Bull ace believes Formula One went in the wrong direction when discussing the options prior to the inaugural Sprint weekends. There was talk before the signing of the last Concorde agreements of cutting the F1 weekend to two days.
Verstappen prefers 2 day F1 weekend
With a 24 race weekend F1 calendar which is set to grow when the new Concorde agreement is renegotiated next year, Verstaoppen believes there’s no need for the additional Saturday races because too much of something brings into play the diminishing laws of utility.
“I love racing in general but sometimes I feel like you don’t need to touch something that is great and I thought the Sunday was great,” said Max candidly.
“Of course selling more tickets on a Friday and Saturday to make every day worth fighting for but eventually 24 and 25 race weekends…?”
“I think a good option anyway would be to shorten the weekend because – some people love racing and will do it forever right – but it also needs to be a healthy option as well.”
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Make Sprint a championship for F1 reserve drivers
Unfortunately for Verstappen the two day F1 weekend train has left the station set for no return.
However, if the current F1 drivers were prepared to give up some of their track time, the Sprint events could become a stand alone championship for the team’s reserve drivers, making the transition into F1 ever more seamless.
Ironically at present this would facilitate a return to the track for a certain Daniel Ricciardo.
Then again Turkey’s don’t vote for Christmas and neither will the exclusive club of 20 Formula One drivers afford the next generation the opportunity to put themselves in the window as potential alternatives.
READ MORE: Hamilton appears confused by new Sprint format
The 2023 story so far… 📖✨
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