Stefano Domenicali condemns Max Verstappen

Formula One CEO Stefano Demonicali has called on drivers to look at the “broader picture” amid speculation about a number of stars on the grid.

In recent weeks, Formula One has found the spotlight firmly focused on a handful of drivers, as speculation is rife over their futures on the grid.

Lewis Hamilton has been in the focus amid rumours he could be set to abandon Mercedes in a bid to secure a record eighth world title or even quit the sport altogether in frustration over his team’s recent performance.

Similarly, despite his dominance in the sport, Max Verstappen has threatened to walk away, citing the increasing demands of the Formula 1 schedule, making the workload almost unbearable for drivers.

Charles Leclerc has also been at the centre of talk in the drivers’ market, as rumours have been swirling he could be looking for an escape from Ferrari, as the Italian team struggles to compete against title-leaders Red Bull.

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Stefano Domenicali, the CEO of Formula 1, has pushed back on this focus on specific Formula 1 drivers, urging those involved in the sport to look at the bigger picture.

“I don’t want a society in which people cannot say what they want,” the CEO told Mail Sport. 

“But drivers sometimes need to remember that they are part of a broader picture. We don’t need to be selfish.

“They are part of this sport and this business, and it grows because we are thinking bigger. Sometimes being out of our comfort zone is not easy, but we cannot be lazy or complacent – just as we can review some of the specifics of the sprint weekend format at the end of the season once we have tried it out on the intended six occasions. We won’t have sprints every weekend, either.

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“But we have a new audience and need to provide value for money every session, not let everyone drive around in circles for the sole benefit of engineers and drivers.”

Ahead of the infamous ‘silly season’, speculation about the future of those drivers is unlikely to end, with Hamilton’s contract expiring at the end of this year and Leclerc’s running out in 2024.

The drivers will next hit the track in Monaco, as the iconic street circuit plays host to a Grand Prix for the 80th time.