‘That’s how I grew up’: Max Verstappen shares unpopular opinion on sprint races

The Dutchman has won both sprint races so far this season.

Reigning World Champion Max Verstappen has revealed that he is against F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali’s plans for at least six sprint races in 2023, with the Dutchman believing the only race should happen on a Sunday.

Sprint races were first trialled last season at three Grand Prix’s, with the format for those weekends seeing qualifying moved to a Friday evening, with a short sprint race taking place on Saturday afternoons.

The result of qualifying determines the grid for the sprint, with the result of the sprint determining the grid for the traditional race on Sunday.

This season has so far seen two sprint races, at both the Emilia Romagna and Austrian Grand Prix.

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Despite not liking them, Verstappen has managed to win both this season so far, gaining an additional eight points on both occasions.

Domenicali has already revealed his intentions on staging at least double the amount of sprint races in 2023, with the former Ferrari team principal targeting at least six sprint events next season.

Verstappen is well and truly against the idea, with the Dutchman believing it takes some of the excitement and “emotions” away from the main race.

The championship leader wants to see racing only taking place on the final day of the weekend, with it being the format he “grew up” to.

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“I just don’t like the sprints,” he said.

“The emotions on a Sunday must be special. It’s the only day you should be racing. That’s how I grew up.”

Whilst F1 is looking to introduce six sprints next season, on two-wheels MotoGP has announced that every single round will feature a sprint race in 2023.

The championship has never had a sprint before; however, due to rapidly falling attendances and TV viewers, the series has decided that sprint races could be the method needed to get their audience back.

MotoGP, as expected, has suffered massively from Valentino Rossi’s retirement.

The Italian was Mr MotoGP, with thousands of fans having tuned in to watch the championship purely to get a glimpse of ‘The Doctor’.

Nobody will ever be able to rise to Rossi’s level in regard to fan engagement, with the sport now being full of young riders who represent the next generation.

Whilst Verstappen doesn’t want six races next season, he is even more against the idea of having a sprint at every weekend.

Verstappen raised the argument that drivers and teams are afraid of being involved in a crash during the sprint, resulting in many drivers opting to run “smoothly” rather than aggressively.

“I wouldn’t like that either,” said Verstappen.

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“The sprints we’ve done so far haven’t really changed the results,” he explained.

“Everyone starts on the same tyre and ends the sprint in the same position as they started. Because you’re afraid that you will have an accident and then have to start from behind in the feature race where there are big points to be gained.

“Everyone wants to make sure the sprint runs smoothly and I don’t think that’s the point,” he insisted.