Toto Wolff sides with Max Verstappen after threatening to quit F1

Formula 1 is considering a new format for sprint weekends which will see just one practice session but two qualifying sessions.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has seemingly demonstrated the same view on the proposed new sprint format as reigning World Champion Max Verstappen, who has threatened to quit Formula 1 should too many changes be made.

It has been reported that a new weekend format could be seen as soon as the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, although, there are some suggestions that it won’t be seen until the Austrian Grand Prix.

Azerbaijan is set to host the first sprint race of the season, something which has already been criticised given the harsh nature of the Baku City Circuit.

The proposed format change for sprint weekends will see an additional qualifying session included, purely to determine the grid for the sprint race.

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The proposed plan would see FP1 and a qualifying session to determine the grid for the main race on the Friday, a qualifying session to determine the grid for the sprint race and then the actual sprint race itself on the Saturday, and finally the traditional race on the Sunday.

Whether the format will be introduced in Azerbaijan or at the second sprint round of the season in Austria is yet to be announced, with a current discussion being on whether a sole practice session is enough.

“In Baku we are talking about having a second qualifying in the moment. We don’t know how we do it and if we do it,” Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said.

“Instead of FP2 on a sprint event on Saturday morning, we do our qualifying. Then we are in a situation to evaluate would one FP1 be enough to get out what we want and go from there?”

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Verstappen is one driver completely against all the changes to the format, with the Red Bull driving having been against the introduction of sprint races in 2021.

With further format changes and additional races likely moving forward, Verstappen has warned that he “won’t be around for too long” if it all becomes too much.

“I’m happy with just the main race,” Verstappen told Sport TV.

“I think that’s way better for the excitement. I naturally, of course, hope that there won’t be too many changes otherwise I won’t be around for too long.”

Wolff has a similar view to Verstappen on the matter and is a fan of F1’s traditional format, something which is looking increasingly like a thing of the past.

The Mercedes boss does think, though, that all the teams should be “open” to possible change, given the direction the pinnacle of motorsport is currently going in.

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“I’m more on the conservative side,” Wolff told Motorsport-Total.

“I like qualifying, I like the Grand Prix.”

Despite this, Wolff does believe that teams must be “open to where the sport is going” and that it is important “to come to a common denominator, which is the best principle”.