Martin Brundle addresses Max Verstappen retirement claim

Two qualifying sessions are set to take place at this month's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Ex-Formula 1 driver turned pundit Martin Brundle has revealed that he’d be “surprised” if Max Verstappen did retire from the pinnacle of motorsport at the end of 2028, when his current lucrative contract with Red Bull expires.

Verstappen has discussed retiring in 2028 several times recently, with the Dutchman having stated it once again during the Australian Grand Prix, following speculation that the format will be changed again for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The reigning World Champion certainly isn’t a fan of all the recent format changes, in particular, sprint races.

Verstappen prefers the traditional format of three practice sessions, qualifying, and then the race.

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This is set to be turned on its head at the Baku City Circuit, with FP1 and a qualifying session for the race to take place on the Friday, a qualifying session for the sprint and then the sprint race on the Saturday, and then the main race on the Sunday.

Following the announcement of the expected changes to the format in Baku, Verstappen has admitted he “won’t be around for too long” should the vast number of changes continue.

“I’m happy with just the main race,” Verstappen told Portugal’s Sport TV.

“I think that’s way better for the excitement. I naturally, of course, hope that there won’t be too many changes – otherwise I won’t be around for too long.”

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Despite Verstappen stating that he could quit, Brundle doesn’t see the Red Bull driver leaving the sport anytime soon, especially when he has the best car on the grid.

“I’d be surprised,” Brundle told Sky Sports F1. “But if he doesn’t want to drive it, there’ll be a million other people who do want to drive that Red Bull.

“I think what he’s trying to say is, using pleasant words, ‘Don’t mess around too much. Let’s just evolve and massage this along. Don’t keep changing the ground rules’. I get his point on that, but I don’t really see why that would make him stop.”

Brundle actually agrees with Verstappen that further changes to the format aren’t currently needed, especially when the sprint concept was only introduced in 2021.

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“I like the format we’ve got now. Of course, we ended up with the qualifying system we’ve got and everything about Formula 1 because we’ve changed it in the past and finessed it and evolved.

“That’s the key word – it needs evolving. I don’t know why we’re messing around with the Sprint concept already if I’m honest and, again, I don’t see why it needs to be standalone. That’s the whole purpose. Teams and the drivers love data driven certainty and the sport and the fans want to sit down and watch some uncertainty, which they certainly had in Melbourne.

“The whole purpose of the Sprint race, and it’s worked on a number of occasions already, was to maybe just spice up the actual race day grid a little bit and, brilliantly, it gives us qualifying on Friday, Sprint race Saturday and the main Grand Prix on Sunday. So if you’re attending a Grand Prix or you’re sitting at home watching then you’ve got a big moment and appointment viewing all three days.”