Max Verstappen tears sprint format apart after Lewis Hamilton disqualification

Michelle Foster
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen gesturing in the press conference.

Max Verstappen

Already not a fan of Sprint weekends, Max Verstappen has blamed the format for Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc’s disqualifications after their cars failed post-race inspection in Austin.

Hamilton and Leclerc finished the United States Grand Prix in second and sixth places respectively but hours later they were disqualified when a post-race inspection found their planks to be less than the minimum thickness of 9mm.

But as they were just two of the four cars tested, in other words, a 50 percent failure rate, Hamilton was irate that the FIA didn’t proceed to test other cars.

Max Verstappen blames Sprint format for Austin’s double DSQ

“They only tested a few cars and 50 percent of them got disqualified. There were far more drivers’ cars that were illegal,” he said, adding that the extreme bumps at the Circuit of the Americas caused excessive wear.

Mercedes and Ferrari weren’t helped by it being a Sprint weekend leaving them with just one hour of practice in which to find the right set-up before the cars were under parc ferme conditions.

Verstappen believes this is yet another reason to “get rid” of Sprint weekends.

“Of course, I don’t think anyone does that on purpose, but it’s just even more because of this Sprint format where you only have one practice session where you try to nail everything,” Verstappen told the media in Mexico City.

“Once you are in the wrong, there’s nothing you can do. The only thing you can do is bump up the tyre pressures, but then you’re driving around on balloon tyres.

“Of course, it’s not what we want to see. We know that dropping the car gives you performance.

“But it’s just because of this whole format that you put yourself in this position because I don’t think anyone over a normal weekend would run like that.

“So I think we should just get rid of the Sprint weekend and then everyone can just set up their cars normally. It wouldn’t have happened if we’d had a normal race weekend.

“These things only happen when you have a Sprint weekend where everything is so rushed in between FP1 and qualifying and you think ‘We might be okay’ (in terms of set-up).

“From our side, I think we went a bit too conservative, but, of course, that’s still better than the other way.” recommends

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Max Verstappen scoffs at proposals to liven up Sprint weekends

The reigning World Champion may want rid of Sprints but Formula 1 chiefs do not.

They are proposing various ideas in an attempt to liven up the Sprint weekends such as a standalone championship with a prize pot and reverse grids.

Verstappen isn’t impressed.

“Like I’ve always said ‘Why? Why do we need to try and invent something?'” he said.

“Our product works if you just make sure the cars are competitive, and the rules stay the same for a long time. Why are we always inventing new things?

“It almost sounds like craziness (to say) that ‘Oh, we need to come up with something’. Just leave it the same. Why do we suddenly need to come up with other things to try and make it entertaining?

“If you have a good race on your hands with cars close to each other, then you don’t need a Sprint format or weekend.”

As things stand today if there was a standalone championship he’d be sitting on top of that table with three Sprint wins, a runner-up result, and a third-place finish.

“That doesn’t mean anything to me, even if you were to win it,” added the 25-year-old. “It’s the same now. You cross the line and it’s ‘Alright, well, tomorrow is the race’.

“There’s no satisfaction to win a Sprint for me. Honestly, for me, they can do what they want with the Sprint format because I don’t really find it interesting.

“As I said before, why do we need to keep on trying to make changes when I feel like if it fails.”

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