Ex-F1 champion tells Max Verstappen to ‘stop now’

Max Verstappen has previously spoken out against the current F1 format being changed.

1996 Formula 1 World Champion Damon Hill has told reigning World Champion Max Verstappen to retire from Formula 1 “now”, with the Briton believing that the Dutchman isn’t “having fun” at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Despite having won the 2021 and 2022 titles, Verstappen has kept hit no secret that he’s growing increasingly frustrated with F1’s bosses, in particular F1 CEO and president Stefano Domenicali.

Domenicali is currently pushing for practice sessions to be scrapped to make room for more competitive sessions, with a new change set to be introduced at sprint weekends.

Whilst the upcoming Azerbaijan Grand Prix is set to following the traditional sprint format, the next sprint race in Austria is expected to consist of one practice session, two qualifying sessions, the sprint race and then the main race, something Verstappen isn’t keen on.

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The 25-year-old has warned that he will leave the sport should the format continue to be changed, with Verstappen clearly being the fan of F1’s traditional weekend layout.

Hill believes Verstappen’s threats to leave the sport are “very unusual” but are a sign that “he’s done” with the F1, making Hill question why the Dutchman doesn’t quit this season.

“Max’s retirement threat is very unusual,” Hill said.

“It is kind of strange to hear, isn’t it? I mean, what’s he going to do with himself? He should stop now, really. Stop now, he’s done it.

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“I think fun’s a very important point. Is he having fun, because I sometimes think he’s not having fun. I think you have to love what you’re doing, otherwise it’s a grind.”

2023 has so far been an exceptional season for Verstappen, with the Dutch driver once again currently sitting top of the standings.

If things go as expected then he will become a three-time World Champion this year, meaning he’ll join the likes of Ayrton Senna and Niki Lauda.

His current deal with Red Bull is set to expire at the end of 2028 with him having stated that he might race elsewhere once his deal is up, with Verstappen wanting to achieve much more in his life away from F1.

With that in mind, Hill believes Verstappen is somebody who doesn’t want “to waste his time”, especially if the format is further changed against his liking.

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“I think there’s an element of this with Max with him wanting not to waste his time on superfluous things that really are just invented for novelty reasons,” Hill added. “I think he’s that kind of person.

“So I can imagine him just saying it because he just thinks ‘well, I just come here and want to win grand prix. I just want one race to mean something. I don’t want to have a half-value race, what’s the point of that on your CV?’

“People aren’t going to go ‘how many Grand Prix have you won? Now how many sprint races have you won?’”