Verstappen repeats his warning more sprint races will make F1 ‘not worth it for me’

2023 Australian Grand Prix

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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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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...

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13 comments on “Verstappen repeats his warning more sprint races will make F1 ‘not worth it for me’”

  1. Six or seven teams fighting for the win is not really in the DNA of F1 either, of course. But I understand the point and admire that Verstappen is willing to speak out about this. I imagine many of his fellow drivers have the same view, privately, but are unwilling or unable to say so in public.

    The other effect of his comments will no doubt be to make the sprint format immensely popular among Hamilton fans.

    1. Tim (@tsgoodchild)
      1st April 2023, 17:43

      On the contrary, despite being a fan of Lewis from before he started in F1, this might be the first time I admire Max for saying something that has come out of his usually potty mouth. However, I doubt he has any influence on the dollar signs Liberty Media have in their eyes and F1’s ever-growing popularity.

  2. If the Sprints have standalone qualifying he could skip those sessions. That wouldn’t affect his GP starting position. He would lose up to 8 points but in seasons like this he may allow himself to skip a few of these races. Also in seasons where he has no chance of being WDC. If he is not allowed legally, he could just retire from those sessions early.

  3. I agree with Verstappen about sprint races. I’m just not clear whether there’s a subtext to these ‘warnings about leaving’ or not. Max’s value to Formula 1 isn’t him winning titles or his media personality (which he clearly has no interest in developing or projecting). It’s scrapping on track. Not his fault but we seem set for another year of him winning the title at a breeze. So I’m not sure how bothered, really, Formula 1 would be about losing him.

  4. I don’t see why this comment put him at odds with Domenicali

    reduce the weekend, only race on Saturday and Sunday and make those two days exciting

    is the same way of saying reduce FP and having two races on one weekend.

  5. Well, we can’t have Max’s fun spoiled…

  6. The problem is that F1 isn’t the action packed product it markets itself as. It’s really time for a refresh as the races just feel so stale. The lack of on track action is made worse with longer races.

    MotoGP currently have a fantastic product and sprint races have really improved it. The sprint races have both been absolutely epic this season.

    Traditionalists will moan and likely blame the attention span of younger generations, but times change and not everyone wants to waste 1.5-2 hours watching cars drive around 2-5 seconds apart with the occasional overtake for 5th place.

    qualifying and a short race on Saturday followed by two short races on Sunday would make things far more interesting.

    Removing the Championship all together would be the best thing F1 could ever do too, sadly most won’t agree!

    1. MotoGP currently have a fantastic product and sprint races have really improved it.

      Sure if you like chaos and injuries.

      How many big crashes occurred & how many riders suffers injuries compared to normal?

    2. I don’t agree with everything here but Ben makes some good points.

      Going from one extended dominant era to another dominant era to another is not fun. Assuming for the moment that Max wins this year, the last time a repeat dominant team didn’t win was 2009. And yes, some of those seasons were more competitive than others. But if the sport has become one where fans hope that “one team doesn’t run away with it this season,” it’s a bad situation.

  7. For me, I usually miss qualifying on sprint race weekends because I have things on.

    One of the reasons I got into F1 was the predictable weekend schedule which makes it easier to plan my weekend around. And if I’m unable to watch a race, there’s only one race to catch up on.

    Originally I was excited by the idea of extra competitive sessions—but I have found the opposite and would prefer the original format.

    Dropping practice sessions doesn’t bother me as I don’t watch them anyway.

    If it’s about making the weekend more action packed for the spectators at the track—well Domenicali needs to work with the promoters to ensure there’s more track action happening.

    In Melbourne the track has something happening all weekend. Supercars, Carrera Cup, celebrity races, demonstrations—if you’re in the stands you really have to plan which track action you’re happy to miss for a toilet break!

  8. I knew old people don’t like change, but young people?

  9. Verstappen quitting the sport and more F1 races… sounds like win-win to me!

  10. The problem for me is Max is a whinger…he got pole and won the race..and still not happy..I would take more notice of him if he only spoke now and then…sorry Max fans

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