Sergio Perez throws shade on Azerbaijan sprint

The FIA implemented a series of changes to the race weekend format ahead of the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix to make the sport more interesting for fans.

Sergio Perez has warned that the limitations of the Formula 1 budget cap will impact the risks that teams take during the sprint race in Azerbaijan.

A new format, voted through earlier this week, moving the Grand Prix qualifying to Friday, turning Saturday into a sprint race special and limiting practice to a 1 hour session.

The FIA has brought in the changes to the weekend over concerns that three practice sessions, especially on sprint weekends, fails to engage fans.

The Red Bull driver is cautious that the changes will actually have the desired effect, believing that teams will not be willing to risk damaging their cars around the tight circuit.

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“The budget cap… none of us want to damage our cars because that can be very penalising on bringing future upgrades and it can have an impact on your future races,” Perez told reporters.

“So, I think it’s not like everyone is going to be taking silly risks for a few points. 

“At the end of the day, it’s important to be able to bring the car home and have a good Sunday. So I think it’s not going to change that much.”

Both Red Bulls will start the Grand Prix and the sprint race in the top three.

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On Sunday, Max Verstappen will line up in P2, while Perez will start in P3, with the roles reversed in Saturday’s sprint race, as the Mexican starts in second place and the Dutchman is in third.

Red Bull will be looking to continue their dominant streak in Azerbaijan, having secured three wins out of three so far this season.

Ferrari will be hoping to stop that from happening, as the Italian outfit looks to capitalise on a double pole position start for Leclerc, who lines up in P1 for both the Grand Prix and sprint.