Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Miami International Autodrome, 2023

No “imminent risk” Verstappen will quit F1 over dislike of sprint races – Horner

2023 Miami Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is confident Max Verstappen won’t walk away from Formula 1 any time soon over his dislike of the sprint race format.

Verstappen has repeatedly derided the format which F1 introduced in 2021 and has expanded to six rounds this year. After the first running of the revised, standalone sprint race in Baku last weekend the world champion said F1 should “just scrap the whole thing”.

At the previous round Verstappen said F1’s experiments with its format and expansion of the calendar would make it “not worth it” for him to continue competing in the series. However he has the longest contract of any driver on the grid, keeping him at Red Bull until 2028.

Horner said today “we don’t see [it] as an imminent risk” that Verstappen’s dislike of the format, and F1’s determination to use it at more races, will drive him away from the sport.

“But of course he has an opinion, he’ll always speak openly and voice his opinion. And I think that it’s so hard to look too far down down the road.

“Did Fernando Alonso think he’ll be racing at 42? Probably not. Lewis Hamilton is in his latter thirties. So the future’s just so difficult to predict, but I think it’s great that drivers do have opinions and don’t just become stereotypes.”

However Horner believes there is scope to improve the sprint format following the changes which were trialled last week.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“The sprint weekend last weekend was just full-on action from the moment we got there through Friday, Saturday, Sunday,” he said. “I think decoupling the sprint from the grand prix is actually a good thing compared to what we had previously.

“But I do think we still need to work on the regs to iron out [problems]. Personally I don’t think it’s right that you can’t change the car after one practice session. That to me seems ludicrous not to have an element to be able to engineer other fixes into a car, particularly on street circuits that are changing so rapidly.

“The tyre usage needs looking at as well. I personally would prefer to see free tyre usage, or at least free tyre usage in the in the third sector of sprint qualifying.”

However Horner is prepared to “give it time and just see” whether the format works over the rest of the year. “It’s natural change is always unpopular.

“But I think we need to let it settle, do the six races this year and then reflect on it at the end of the year with all the data, all the knowledge and say, actually what did it do to the sport? Does it add something, does it bring something and what needs perhaps tuning on it?”

Bringing the F1 news from the source

RaceFans strives to bring its readers news directly from the key players in Formula 1. We are able to do this thanks in part to the generous backing of our RaceFans Supporters.

By contributing £1 per month or £12 per year (or the equivalent in other currencies) you can help cover the costs involved in producing original journalism: Travelling, writing, creating, hosting, contacting and developing.

We have been proudly supported by our readers for over 10 years. If you enjoy our independent coverage, please consider becoming a RaceFans Supporter today. As a bonus, all our Supporters can also browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Miami Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Miami 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...
RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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