Max Verstappen, Red Bull’s double world champion, has warned he may quit Formula One if the sport makes too many alterations to the amount of sprint race weekends.
The world champion, who took pole position for the Australian Grand Prix due to take place on Sunday morning, spoke in light of talks in the Melbourne paddock over a huge overhaul of the usual three-day format.
What changes are Formula 1 considering?
Chief executive Stefano Domenicali is keen to offer fans competitive action from Friday to Sunday by cutting down on the amount of practice sessions that have been a focal point of the Formula One experience for years.
The shortened-race format was first introduced at three rounds in 2021, and has been doubled to six for this year, with the first of the season taking place in Azerbaijan at the end of the month.
In its current function, Friday qualifying determines the grid for Saturday’s dash. The result of the sprint then establishes the order for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
But Saturday’s schedule could now see an additional qualifying session set the grid for the sprint. Friday’s qualifying result would then be the starting order for Sunday’s main event.
The alteration in format could even be introduced as early as the next round in Baku with an informal meeting of the grid’s major players set to take place in Melbourne before Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.
What has Max Verstappen said about changes to F1?
But Red Bull driver Verstappen said: “I hope there won’t be too many changes, otherwise I won’t be around for too long.
“I am not a fan of it at all. When we do all that kind of stuff, the weekend becomes very intense, and we already do a lot of races. But it is not the right way to go about it.
“I understand they want to make every day at the track exciting, but they should reduce the weekend, and only race on Saturday and Sunday and make those two days exciting.
“We are heading into seasons where we could have 24 or 25 races and if you then start adding more it is not worth it for me. I will not enjoy that.
“And even if you change the format, I don’t find that is in the DNA of Formula One to do these kind of sprint races.
“F1 is about getting the most out of it in qualifying and have an amazing Sunday over a long race distance. That is the DNA of the sport and I don’t understand why we need to change that.
“How do you get even more action? Get the cars closer, and have more teams fighting for the wins. The show would then be great if we had six or seven teams fighting for the win.
“That would be insane, and then you wouldn’t need to change anything.”