Verstappen remains unconvinced by Sprints


Never a fan of the Sprint, Max Verstappen cites last weekend's disqualifications of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc as further proof the format isn't working.

Since it was first introduced, Verstappen has made no secret of his dislike of the format, and last weekend's double disqualification of Hamilton and Leclerc, according to the three-time world champion, only serves to show that it has not been thought through.

"I don't think anyone does that on purpose," he said of the disqualifications, the result of excessive wear to their cars planks, "but it's just even more because of this Sprint format where you only have one practice session where you try to nail everything.

"Once you are in the wrong, there's nothing you can do," he continued. "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," he added. "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 one and qualifying and you think 'We might be okay' in terms of setup.

"From our side, I think we went a bit too conservative, but, of course, that's still better than the other way," he admitted.

Following Saturday's lacklustre event, Christian Horner said the Sprints need to involve more jeopardy, while other suggestions have included that old chestnut, the reverse grid, and even a stand-alone championship.

None of which impresses Verstappen.

"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."

Talk of a stand-alone championship only saw the Dutchman echo the thoughts of the majority of long-standing fans of the sport.

"That doesn't mean anything to me, even if you were to win it," he said. "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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Published: 27/10/2023
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