Sprint races’ biggest critic Max Verstappen has continued his complaints, suggesting the format goes against “the DNA of F1.”
Sprint races have been a part of the calendar since 2021 and almost ever since then, Verstappen has voiced his complaints about them.
Verstappen’s main bone of contention is the high risk, low reward on offer considering the maximum points a driver can earn is eight but they can suffer a costly crash at any moment, putting their grand prix in jeopardy.
That point is no truer than at the next event where a sprint race will be held around the narrow streets of Baku. The shortened race in Azerbaijan is the first of an increased six sprints this season and the FIA is expected to ratify further changes meaning separate qualifying sessions will be held for the sprint and the race itself.
Verstappen, who has won three of the six sprints held so far, continued his complaints against the format following qualifying at the previous race in Australia and suggested it makes an already packed schedule even more intense.
“I’m not a fan of it at all,” the 25-year-old said. “When we are going to do all that kind of stuff the weekend becomes even more intense and we’re already doing so many races. So I think that is not the right way to go at it.
“I understand because they want to have every day exciting but then I think maybe it’s better to just reduce the weekend. Race, Saturday and Sunday, make those two days exciting, because we’re adding to seasons where you have 24, 25 races.
“It’s not worth it, for me anyway, I’m not enjoying that.”
Verstappen has previously suggested further changes to the format and schedule could prompt him to call time on his F1 career and he said a sprint race goes against “the DNA of F1.”
“For me, a sprint race is all about surviving. It’s not about racing. For me, when you have a quick car, there’s nothing to [gain by taking a] risk. I prefer to just keep my car alive and make sure that you have a good race car for Sunday.
“Even if you change the format, I just do not think it’s the DNA of Formula 1 to do these kinds of sprint races. F1 is about getting the most out of qualifying and then having an amazing Sunday, good long races. That’s the DNA of the sport.
“I don’t understand or I don’t know why we should change that. Because I think the action has been good and how we get even more action is by getting the cars close or getting more teams able to fight for the win.
“I think [then] naturally the show will be great. If we have six, seven teams already fighting for a win, that will be insane and you really don’t change anything.”