‘If you start adding more it is NOT worth it for me!’: World champion Max Verstappen threatens to QUIT Formula One if bosses add on more sprint races to an already packed calendar… with Red Bull star firing warning not to mess with sport’s ‘DNA’
- Max Verstappen has threatened to quit Formula One amidst a planned overhaul
- F1 chiefs looking to revolutionise the sport, including adding more sprint races
- The proposals also include plans to cut down on the number of practice sessions
Max Verstappen has threatened to walk out on Formula One if bosses mess with its ‘DNA’ by expanding the number of sprint race weekends.
The world champion, who took pole position for the Australian Grand Prix due to take place on Sunday morning, spoke in light of talks in the Melbourne paddock over a potentially revolutionary overhaul of the usual three-day format.
Chief executive Stefano Domenicali is keen to offer fans competitive action from Friday to Sunday by cutting down on the amount of practice sessions that have been a staple of the Formula One experience for years and increasing the number of sprint races held each season from the current six.
While paddock opinion is split on the proposals, the specifics of which are still being worked through, Verstappen made his position clear, saying: ‘I hope there won’t be too many changes, otherwise I won’t be around for too long.
‘I am not a fan of it at all. When we do all that kind of stuff, the weekend becomes very intense and we already do a lot of races.
Max Verstappen insisted he would leave Formula One if plans to overhaul the sport go ahead
Proposals supported by chief executive Stefano Domenicali include cutting down on practice sessions and increasing the number of sprint races
‘I understand they want to make every day exciting but they should reduce the weekend, and only qualify and race on Saturday and Sunday and make those two days exciting.
‘We are heading into seasons where we could have 24 or 25 races and if you then start adding more it is not worth it for me. I will not enjoy that.’
The first of this year’s six sprint races, which are staged over a third of a grand prix distance, is scheduled for the Saturday of the next round in Baku on the weekend of April 28. The result of that will determine the starting order for the main event on Sunday.
Another mooted strand is the introduction of an extra qualifying session – one for the grand prix and another for the sprint, possibly over a single lap.
However, Mercedes pair George Russell and Lewis Hamilton are in favour of more sprints
Verstappen, who had the plans explained to him personally by Formula One Group, added: ‘A sprint race is all about surviving and not racing. It’s not worth taking a risk when you have a quick car. I prefer to keep my car alive to make sure I have a good race car for Sunday.
‘Even if you change the format, I don’t find it is in the DNA of Formula One to do these kind of sprint races.
‘F1 is about getting the most out of it in qualifying and have an amazing Sunday over a long race distance.
‘The action has been good and how do you get even more of it? Getting the cars closer, and having more teams fighting for wins – six or seven of them. That would be insane and then you wouldn’t need to change anything.’
Not all Verstappen’s peers are in agreement. Both Mercedes men George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, who qualified second and third at the Albert Park Circuit respectively, spoke up for more sprints, which have undoubtedly added an extra frisson of excitement since their introduction at Silverstone two years ago.
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