Max Verstappen, the Dutch racing driver, has criticized Formula One‘s sprint races and has urged the sport to go back to traditional content schedules. Sprint races were introduced in 2021 to add an extra competitive session in between qualifying and the grand prix. Originally, the starting order for the sprint race was determined by Friday’s qualifying; the finishing order of the sprint race then decided the order for the grand prix. However, this year, the sprint race was revamped and became a separate race on Saturday. Verstappen has been a vocal critic of the format since its introduction and has been supported by several other Formula One drivers.
Verstappen believes that the sprint format adds a random element that devalues the racing. He said that the sprint race is not proper racing and is more like gambling. He added that he would have more success gambling in Vegas than racing in a sprint race. Verstappen has stated that he is a pure racer and prefers traditional practice sessions on Friday, qualifying on Saturday, and the race on Sunday.
Verstappen expressed his dislike for the sprint race after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where the revised format was tried out. The sprint race no longer sets the grid for the grand prix, and its finishing order does not determine the starting order for the grand prix. Instead, the starting grid for the grand prix is decided by Friday’s qualifying session. Verstappen called for Formula One to abandon the concept of sprint races and to return to tradition.
Verstappen said that the sprint race format creates artificial excitement, which he does not appreciate. He said that he got bored during the qualifying sessions for the sprint race and that he prefers to have one particular qualifying event where he can put everything into it. Verstappen believes that the sprint race does not provide enough room for individual teams to fight for the win and that it is a gimmick to introduce entertainment to fans.
Verstappen concluded his remarks by saying that the sprint race format feels like resetting a soccer match to 0-0, which he finds unnecessary. He called for Formula One to focus on creating better entertainment through a more competitive environment that offers individual teams a fair chance to win. Verstappen‘s criticism of the sprint race format has raised concerns in the Formula One community over the potential impact on the sport.