Martin Brundle has played down fears that Max Verstappen could quit Formula 1 over proposed changes to the racing weekend.
The Dutchman has long suggested he does not see his long-term future in F1, suggesting he would retire and focus on other series when his current Red Bull contract expires in 2028.
But he recently suggested his end date may come even sooner if Formula 1 continues to adapt and change its format.
In 2021, sprint races were introduced for the first time and, ahead of the first of a record six for 2023, there are reports that the format could change again.
The change would see a separate qualifying session take place to form the grid for the shortened 100km race as well as the ‘standard’ qualifying for the main grand prix action on Sunday.
Verstappen said that more added to his plate would make it “not worth it” but Brundle believes the Dutchman is bluffing.
“I’d be surprised,” Brundle told Sky Sports when asked if he foresaw Verstappen retiring as a result of the changes. “But if he doesn’t want to drive it, there’ll be a million other people who do want to drive that Red Bull.
“I think what he’s trying to say is, using pleasant words, ‘don’t mess around too much. Let’s just evolve and massage this along. Don’t keep changing the ground rules.’
“I get his point on that, but I don’t really see why that would make him stop.”
Brundle has lived through plenty of iterations of F1 having first raced in 1984 and suggested it has always been a sport that adapts and evolves.
“I don’t know if it’ll be changing,” the 63-year-old said. “I like the format we’ve got now.
“Of course we ended up with the qualifying system we’ve got and everything about Formula 1 because we’ve changed it in the past and finessed it and evolved. That’s the key word, it needs evolving.
“I don’t know why we’re messing around with the sprint concept already if I’m honest and again, I don’t see why it needs to be standalone, that’s the whole purpose.
“Teams and the drivers love data driven certainty and the sport and the fans want to sit down and watch some uncertainty which they certainly had in Melbourne.
“The whole purpose of the sprint race, and it’s worked on a number of occasions already, was to maybe just spice up the actual race day grid a little bit and brilliantly it gives us qualifying on Friday, sprint race Saturday and the main grand prix on Sunday.
“So if you’re attending a grand prix or you’re sitting at home watching then you’ve got a big moment and appointment viewing all three days.”