Max Verstappen has called for set-up changes to be allowed deeper into sprint weekends, to enable teams and drivers to “correct your mistake or potential mistake”.
Under the current sprint format, all the cars enter parc ferme conditions after Free Practice 1, which is the only practice session during a sprint weekend.
As a result, drivers are then forced to use the same set-up for the remainder of the weekend, something which can cause significant headaches if the set-up isn’t correct from the get-go.
If a team do change the set-up on one of their cars under parc ferme conditions, then that driver receives a hefty penalty.
Whilst Verstappen understands that it’s done to “mix” up the “show”, he’s called for parc ferme to be introduced later in a sprint weekend.
“It can be that you try sometimes – and we’ve had it in the past – that you know you make a few decisions where you think it’s going to be okay and then it doesn’t work out and then your whole weekend is ruined because you can’t touch the car and I think that is a bit of a shame,” Verstappen explained.
“That’s maybe something we have to look into for the future if we want to continue doing these kinds of events.
“I understand, of course, for the show it’s good to mix it up a bit, but at least you should be able to correct your mistake or potential mistake.”
Last weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix sprint weekend received substantial criticism, as the circuit was changed overnight ahead of the sprint shootout.
In between qualifying and the sprint shootout, the circuit was narrowed by 80cm between Turns 12 and 13, following concerns raised by Pirelli about the kerbs.
This frustrated the drivers, as remaining within the white lines became significantly more challenging, resulting in more track limit penalties being awarded.
Next weekend’s United States Grand Prix is another sprint event, where parc ferme conditions will be introduced significantly sooner than they are on a traditional weekend, much to the frustration of the majority of the grid.