Max Verstappen Isn’t A Fan Of Sprint Races And Doesn’t Consider Them Worthy.

Two-time F1 champion, Max Verstappen, doesn’t understand the purpose of Sprint Race weekends, even though more of such events have been added to the calendar for the upcoming season and he has earned far more points than any other driver in the format’s five iterations so far.

During the 2021 British Grand Prix, F1 had its maiden Sprint Race, a bygone afterthought of a weekend dominated by news of Hamilton and Verstappen’s engagement in a heated championship battle. However, the high-speed crash on the first lap immediately interrupted the Red Bull driver’s race.

The reality is that very few people can recall the very first sprint race, when it occurred, and who the winner was. Of course, it was Max. Moreover, what should we call it? a sprint race? Eventually, it took on the cumbersome name “Sprint Qualification.”

The format was used once more at Interlagos and Monza last season, and drivers, teams, and spectators all agreed that it served no purpose for the main event and was merely ceremonial.

However, F1 bosses persisted and persuaded the teams with the proper numbers, and three were confirmed for 2022, with the now-forgotten sprint event hosted at Imola and Monza as well, and Interlagos hosting it for a second consecutive year next weekend.

Promoters, however, are reportedly excited about the prospects because the Sprint races on Saturday seem to draw larger crowds than just qualifying, which has statistically been the case, and as a result, three more Sprint weekends have been added to the 2023 timetable, bringing the total to six for the season.

Stefano Domenicali and his colleagues aren’t paying attention to the fact that the teams, drivers, and fans were mostly unimpressed by the concept and questioned its purpose.

Verstappen talked about sprint races and what they imply for a race weekend this week on the Formula Nerds podcast. He said: “Every time I do them, it’s about ‘don’t get any damage, make sure you stay in the top three.”

“You do another start, which is exciting, but it’s only really people who are out of position that move forward because only you put a tyre on that just lasts a whole stint and not much happens.”

“I don’t understand what the problem is for that, because we’ve had so many exciting races, so you don’t need to add one-third of a race distance.

“Everyone is so careful anyway because if you are fighting for third and you have a little touch and you drop to last, you know your Saturday is going to be tough. Probably you won’t risk it, so that’s not really a race,”

The Red Bull driver set aside personal advantage and spoke passionately about the idea; moreover, F1 statistics reveal that the Dutchman won three of the five Sprints to date, at Silverstone in 2021, Imola, and Austria in 2022, while coming in second at Interlagos and Monza in the previous season.

While the majority of drivers are reluctant to express their opinions, those who have all agree that there is no good reason to abandon the tried-and-true weekend format.

Sebastian Vettel, a four-time F1 World Champion who will retire at the end of the current season, hit the nail on the head when he explicitly said that Sprint Race weekends are a money-grab by the sport’s owners, Liberty Media, who kowtow to promoters with deep pockets for the frequently ignored sideshow a Grand Prix weekend hardly needs.

The German concurred with Verstappen that surviving is more important than racing in the sprints and claimed: “I don’t want to be the bad guy for just being the bad guy, but I think it is a way to make more money. If there is a race, obviously it’s more exciting than maybe a practice session. You have more people watching.”

“So I guess it’s a question of approach, but then I don’t have full access to the numbers. That’s what we were told some while ago,”

Lando Norris, who enjoys “F1 as it is,” concurs and identifies the build-up from Qualifying on Saturday and Sunday as the essential aspects of a Grand Prix weekend.

Lewis Hamilton, a fellow Englishman and seven-time F1 World Champion, has asked F1 executives to be judicious about where to host Sprint Races but has not condemned the format.

This weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix will host the third and final Sprint Race weekend of the year, which will feature Friday’s FP1 and Sprint Qualifying, Saturday’s FP2, and the Sprint Race to determine the starting grid on Sunday.