Sprint race pole-winner Verstappen “not a fan” of the format

2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Max Verstappen will start today’s Emilia-Romagna sprint race from pole position but admits he isn’t keen on the format Formula 1 introduced last year.

“I’m not a fan of the sprint,” Verstappen admitted yesterday. “It is what it is. Some like it, some don’t.”

Having trialled it at a trio of rounds last season, F1 is holding sprints at three more events this year, starting this weekend. But despite having tweaked the format, F1 hasn’t won over the world champion, and other drivers also see further room for improvement.

Charles Leclerc says he appreciates the shortened sprint event Fridays, which feature a single practice session before qualifying. But he believes the sprint race should not decide the grid for the grand prix as is currently the case.

“I quite like the Friday, to be honest, just because a normal Friday is normally pretty boring,” he said. “We have FP1, FP2, FP3, lots of practice. Now, it’s straight to the point so I quite like this.

“Then, for the Saturday I believe we could do something better. [Perhaps] having a stand[alone] race that doesn’t affect Sunday’s race, to have a bit more action on the Saturday and people taking a bit more risk.”

His Ferrari team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr has the same criticism of the sprint raceformat. “I agree with Charles on the sprint idea,” he said. “It’s something that we are discussing with FOM and FIA to maybe spice up a bit the sprint weekend.”

Alfa Romeo, Imola, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix qualifying in pictures
Pierre Gasly is another of the sprint race sceptics.

But not all drivers appreciate the reduction in track time on Fridays. Lando Norris says it won’t help McLaren get to the bottom of the difficulties they’ve had with their car since the start of the year.

“We’re still figuring out a lot of things with the car, we want just as much running as possible to keep the learning going consistently,” he said. “So when you have something like this, you can’t try as many things with the car, you don’t learn as much from FP1 in terms of you don’t have the time to do aero runs and all of this kind of stuff.

“So it definitely slows down the rate of development or understanding you can you can gain. We’re still learning from different conditions so we will still be able to learn different things over practice, qualifying and the race and so on but maybe just not as much as what we would on a normal weekend.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

Browse all 2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

14 comments on “Sprint race pole-winner Verstappen “not a fan” of the format”

  1. Let’s face it, nobody is except Liberty (money, money, money)

    1. Look at both their expressions. Stefano’s face says: great, this format will pay for my new car. Max’s face says: I am being played so he can have a new car.

    2. Some people do like the basic idea of the F1 sprints, Mayrton.
      They could certainly be executed better, but the same can be said for every other aspect of F1 too.

    3. I like the sprint race a LOT, but not the way its used. I even like how it’s a sporadic event and not a constant at all tracks, though I could happily see it go to up to a third of circuits.

      It would be WONDERFUL to have a sprint race done with a spare car, one per team, exclusively driven by “academy” drivers (up and coming youths) awarding points like now but for themselves, plus obviously the team.

      As far as development goes, they should drastically increase the number of test sessions throughout the year outside of race weekends.

      1. That’s a very cool idea.more F1 time (=liberty happy), we get exposed to fresh skills and it doesn’t derail from the championship

  2. Yeah, I’m ‘not a fan’ of a lot of things that have changed in my workplace/leisure activities either, but it is what it is.

    I doubt there would be any more action in a sprint not associated directly with the race, as the teams still wouldn’t want their car damaged when it needs to be used again that weekend. They’d quite possibly take even less risk, as there wouldn’t even be a more favourable grid position to fight for.

    As for Norris’ comment – that’s the classic thing I read here a lot….
    “I don’t like it, it doesn’t work for me so I don’t want it and I don’t think much about what others want.”

    1. Well, it might, especially earlier in this season, mean that teams that are not 100% well sorted in their aero and gremlins take longer to get up to speed, narrowing the field at the top and making Verstappen/Red Bull’s unreliabliity (and Sainz’ lack of killing execution) a big boon to Leclerc’s championship fight being wrapped up early S. In that sense, it’s something that tries to generate excitement at all moments, but thereby reduces the middle term competitive field that helps ensure lasting tension and close on-track battles.

  3. RocketTankski
    23rd April 2022, 10:09

    Rename practice as Free Run.
    Rename qualy as Time Trial.
    Rename the GP as Career Mode.
    Rename sprint as Quick Race, but point out it is for noobs and casuals.
    Allow teams to buy loot boxes to unlock new parts and paint jobs.

  4. What I was told last year was that most of the drivers don’t like it, Teams aren’t keen of it & that if you gave everyone in the paddock a free vote on it it would have virtually no support.

    1. But then, if a sprint race had been a part of F1 for 60 years, they’d all love it and would strongly reject any suggestion of removing it… “It’s F1’s DNA…”

      Fortunately, F1 isn’t controlled entirely by interests looking at it from the inside out.
      What a sad, boring, unpopular entity it would be if it was.

      1. Maybe it isn’t part of the DNA because it’s a bad idea except for shareholders.

        1. That makes no sense at all.

  5. I might be late to the party, but it just occured to me that the least annoying way to look at the sprint race is to consider yesterday as quli day, and today as the race start and first half hour racing followed by a lenghty red flag period.
    Because basically, that’s exactly what it is. A start, then a red flag, then another start after the red flag tomorrow.

    1. …. but with extra points for the positions during the red flag period.

Comments are closed.