Max Verstappen has admitted that the constant changes being made to the Formula 1 format has made the sport “like a circus”, whilst he’s also made a suggestion on how to avoid drivers being disqualified during Sprint weekends.
The three-time World Champion has been against Sprint weekends ever since the concept was initially discussed, with him often expressing his displeasure of them to the media.
Some of the drivers do like the format, although a general thought amongst the entire paddock is that changes need to be made to it.
The main change most want to see introduced is an adjustment to when parc ferme is introduced, as currently it comes into effect ahead of qualifying after Free Practice 1.
This played a role in Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc being disqualified at the 2023 United States Grand Prix for excessive plank wear, as Mercedes and Ferrari didn’t have time to make the necessary setup changes.
Verstappen admitted that the early parc ferme introduction is an issue, as teams are then stuck with a bad setup potentially for so much longer.
“If you went even slightly the wrong way in FP1, you’re stuck with that setup for the rest of the sprint weekend. That really sucks,” Verstappen told Auto Motor und Sport.
“We’ve had some really good sprint weekends this year, but I wasn’t completely satisfied. Take the ride height in Austin. Mercedes and Ferrari didn’t set their cars too low on purpose.
“But once you take the wrong turn [in terms of setup], there is no turning back. At most you can force something with the tyre pressure. But if those prescribed values are already very high, then you’ve been seen.”
For Sprint weekends, Verstappen thinks there should be two separate Parc Fermes, to accompany the Sprint race and the traditional feature race.
“One Parc Fermé for Saturday and one Parc Fermé for Sunday, for example,” said Verstappen.
If the 26-year-old had it his way, the Sprint format would just be axed altogether, as would the alternative tyre qualifying format which was trialled in 2023.
Verstappen wants the sport to stick with the current format and stop making so many changes, as it’s making him “feel lost” and is turning F1 into “a circus”.
“That would be a bit risky. I think the current format is very good,” added the Red Bull driver.
“I already don’t like the current format either with that mandatory medium-medium-soft tyre selection. We already don’t know what’s wise: one fast lap, or still a fast lap, followed by a cool-down lap and another fast lap?
“Even I can’t keep track of exactly what the rules are anymore, which makes me feel lost. It’s like a circus.”