‘That’s how I grew up’: Max Verstappen wants Formula 1 to reverse move

Sprint races were introduced in 2021 in the hope of making race weekends more interesting.

Sprint races have divided opinion since their introduction last year, with their introduction aimed to spice up race weekends.

Formula 1 understood that practice sessions and qualifying did not provide much entertainment for casual fans, and decided to trial a new format at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos in 2021, that would see drivers race 100km after qualifying to decide the final grid order for Sunday’s race.

The new format has had a mixed reception, with some fans enjoying the extra laps of racing, while others see it as unnecessary and boring racing as the lack of mandatory pit stops removes any element of strategy.

Max Verstappen has now called for the F1 chiefs to scrap the idea, ahead of the third and final sprint race of 2022 this weekend in Brazil.

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“I just don’t like the sprints,” he said when asked about the new format.

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

With the races introduced to add excitement to the F1 weekend, the Dutchman does not understand exactly what excitement was lacking from the original Sunday race only format.

“I don’t understand what’s wrong with that because we’ve had so many exciting races. You don’t have to add one third of a race distance,” he questioned.

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“You have an extra start. That’s exciting. But other that that, it’s only the drivers who are not in their usual position who come to the front because the tyres last a whole race. Then not much happens.”

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It was during the sprint race in Brazil last year that Lewis Hamilton benefitted from Verstappen’s suggestion that those with a poor qualifying position make up their lsot ground, with the Brit charging from last on the grid to a front half start on Sunday, after a penalty saw him relegated to the back of the sprint start.

“During every sprint race I’m like ‘don’t get any damage, make sure you stay in the top three’. For me that’s not really racing because you know there are a lot more points to be earned in the main race. In that, you take a bit more risk,” explained the Dutchman.

Whether Verstappen likes it or not, sprint races are here to stay for the time being, with the FIA confirming that the number of weekends taking up this format will be doubling to six in 2023.