Max Verstappen warned after sending ‘very unusual threat’

Dutch driver Max Verstappen has threatened to leave the sport over changes put forward by F1 bosses.

Ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Max Verstappen expressed his opposition to the proposed changes to the weekend race format, which come into effect at Baku.

At the first sprint weekend on the calendar, Formula 1 bosses are introducing two qualifying sessions.

The different format will see the Saturday sprint become a standalone event, as Friday has one practice session and a qualifying session for the sprint.

Saturday’s qualifying session will remain in place for the Grand Prix on Sunday, as the sport’s bosses look to make the weekend more engaging for fans.

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Verstappen responded to the change claiming that the extended race action and desire for more wheel to wheel action is making him consider early retirement.

“We’re heading into seasons where you have at one point 24, 25 races, because that’s where we’re going to head into and if we start adding even more stuff, it’s not worth it for me anyway. I’m not enjoying that,” the Dutchman said.

“And for me, a sprint race is all about surviving. It’s not about racing. For me, when you have a quick car, there’s nothing to risk,” he added.

Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle has admitted that he would be “surprised” if Verstappen follows through on his threat to quit Formula 1. 

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“I think what he’s trying to say is don’t mess around too much, Let’s just evolve and message this along. Don’t keep changing the ground rules,” Brundle told Sky Sports News.

However, Brundle’s co-presenter Damon Hill has suggested Verstappen should walk away from Formula 1 if he truly is losing passion for the sport.

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“Max’s retirement threat is very unusual. It is kind of strange to hear, isn’t it? I mean, what’s he going do with himself?,” Hill told the Sky Sports podcast.

“He should stop now, really. Stop now – he’s done it! You mentioned fun – I think that’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,” the former world champion said.