Max Verstappen questions new format despite FIA compensation

The 2023 season will feature six sprint races rather than the three that have been held in previous seasons.

2021 saw sprint races introduced into Formula 1 for the very first time, as the FIA sought to make race weekends more entertaining and increase viewer numbers on Fridays and Saturdays.

Some fans prefer to only watch qualifying and the main race, choosing not to tune into Friday’s practice session, meaning that the introduction of the sprint races could make the whole weekend more appealing.

On race weeks where the sprint race format is applied, drivers will qualify a day earlier on Friday before taking part in a 100km race om Saturday to decide the starting grid for the main race on Sunday,

With the format initially being trialled at Silverstone, Monza and Brazil in 2021 before returning for three more races last year and will now feature six times next season.

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Teams initially questioned F1’s decision to double the number of sprint race weekends, suggesting that the budget cap does not allow room for such races without an overspend.

The FIA have replied to the team’s concerns by doubling the cost cap allowance on these specific weekends from $150,000 to $300,000.

Despite this help from the FIA, reigning world champion Max Verstappen is still yet to be convinced by the new format, suggesting that is simply allows those who underperformed in qualifying to make up the places ahead of the main event.

“Every time I do these races, it’s about ‘don’t get damage, make sure you stay in the top three’,” he claimed.

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“For me, that’s not really a race, because you go into the main race and you know there are way more points available anyway, you just risk a bit more there.

“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.

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“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.”

Pierre Gasly has also admitted his dislike for the sprint race format, suggesting that it does not add anything to Formula 1 other than a small financial benefit.

With six sprint races planned for 2023, it appears that the weekends taking this format will only increase in the future as the F1 aims to continue increasing its fanbase and revenue.