Max Verstappen has slammed the decision to hold only one practice session for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola in November as “stupid”.
Imola returns to the schedule for the first time since 2006, which means only Kimi Raikkonen of the current grid will have raced an F1 car there previously. For the record, the Finn’s best finish in six attempts was P2 for McLaren in 2003.
The event takes place only a week after the Portuguese Grand Prix and will be held over two days with no action on Friday, a single 90-minute practice session on Saturday morning, followed by qualifying, and then the race on Sunday.
But due to the lack of experience the vast majority of drivers will have of Imola, Verstappen feels it is a bad move to offer such limited opportunities of running.
“If we would have had it on a track which we know and we have been driving with the cars we have nowadays, I think it’s not a problem at all,” said the Red Bull driver, quoted by RaceFans, ahead of this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.
“But when you go to a new track and only have one session…
“At the end, it’s the same for everyone so there’s no problem with that, but I think it’s just a bit wrong. Give us two sessions to just sort a few things out, just make sure everything is working well, instead of just one.
“The two-day format I don’t really care, but then give us two practice sessions. Even it’s better to do two one-hour sessions than one one-and-a-half. So I think it’s a bit stupid.”
Verstappen has raced at Imola, in the 2014 Formula 3 European Championship when, in the last of three races over one weekend, he completed the treble of victory, pole position and fastest lap.
“I’m very excited to go racing there,” he added. “I just think it’s a bit wrong how they did it. It’s a shame. It’s a great track.”
His Red Bull team-mate Alex Albon agreed, saying: “It would, to me, make a bit more sense to do a two-day event on a track like Silverstone where we have done a double-header. We don’t really need to do three days at the same circuit.
“I think it would have been a good idea to test it out now and give us three days in Imola.”