Formula One

Verstappen on new F1 Sprint format: ‘Scrap the whole thing!’


Max Verstappen isn’t backing away from his criticism of F1’s Sprint races, urging the sport to “scrap the whole thing” after sampling the new format in Baku.

Formula 1 introduced this weekend in Azerbaijan a new approach to its Sprint concept that devotes the whole of Saturday to the shorter distance event.

Grid positions for Sunday’s Grand Prix were set on Friday afternoon, while a Sprint Shootout session set the grid for meridian’s 17-lap mad dash.

Verstappen concluded his race third, but the Dutchman – already in a feisty mood following his run-in with George Russell in the race – didn’t have a positive word to say about the Sprint or its new format.

“Just scrap the whole thing,” he suggested. “I think it’s just important to go back to what we have and make sure every team can fight for the win.

“That’s what we have to try and aim for and implement all these kinds of artificial excitement, I would say.”

The two-time world champion admitted that the midday Sprint Shootout had been nothing more than a boring affair.

“I got bored through today’s qualifying to be honest,” he said. “I like to have one particular qualifying where you put everything in it and that was yesterday, which I of course enjoyed.

“Then you have to do it again today like ‘my god, another qualifying’, I just don’t really enjoy that.”

Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate, Sergio Perez, who won the afternoon’s short chase, was critical of the long wait between qualifying and the race on Saturday.

“The format, I feel like after doing the sprint [shootout], there is four hours waiting and I think it’s just a little bit too much,” he said.

“Probably we have to review the timings and make it a bit more efficient and keep everyone more in the zone and make it a little bit shorter.”

Saturday’s third-placed man, Charles Leclerc felt that the new format was an improvement overall over the previous schedule. But the Ferrari driver hopes it doesn’t become a permanent fixture in the future.

“I think it’s a better format than last year’s sprint format,” he said. “But I wouldn’t want this to be the standard in the future.

“I think it’s fine, three to four races like this in a year. As Checo said it puts a lot more pressure on the drivers because basically there is only one session where you can do a mistake which is FP1.

“After that every lap you do is really important and you also have less preparation, the prep on the simulator beforehand is important.”

“To change, maybe the rule of the new Soft in SQ3, to be able to at least use a used Soft.

“It’s a shame to not see Lando [Norris] drive as he didn’t have a set of tyres, and the timing as Checo said, there’s a few things that can be improved to change those weekends.”

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Verstappen on new F1 Sprint format: ‘Scrap the whole thing!’

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