He may have been shooting three world championships in a row and enjoying a hectic life at the top of the grid, but Max Verstappen has threatened to quit F1 if the organizers insist on tampering with the ‘DNA’ of racing.
After taking pole position for Red Bull again at the Australian Grand Prix, the 25-year-old Dutch superstar says he doesn’t think it will be ‘worth it’ for him if F1 organizers keep pushing for more sprint races. .
The next race, in Azerbaijan, will see the first six-sprint event of the season, among a host of other Formula 1 organizers constantly putting in their work.
There was also talk of removing one of the Friday free practice sessions in the race weekend and replacing it with a second qualifying session instead.
But Verstappen has none of it.
Max Verstappen with Australian comedian Celeste Barber after securing pole position for the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon.
Verstappen, pictured with long-term partner Kelly Piquet, said he’s not a fan of all the Team Chanegs that F1 organizers have in mind for an already packed schedule.
And the Dutch star suggested that Formula 1 would be better off at the weekend and only race on Saturday and Sunday.
“I’m not a fan of it (the proposed changes) at all,” Verstappen said, after taking pole in Sunday’s race at Albert Park, ahead of the two Mercedes.
“But also, I think when we’re going to do all that kind of stuff, the weekend gets a lot more intense and we actually do a lot of races.
So I think that’s not the right way to go about it. I understand, of course, that they basically want every day to be exciting, but then I think maybe it’s better to cut back on the weekend, just race on Saturday and Sunday and make those two days exciting.
Verstappen, who finished first in the season opener and second behind team-mate Sergio Perez in Saudi Arabia, then sensationally announced that he would eventually quit if the changes were made, as it would not have been ‘worth it’.
Verstappen doesn’t like the idea of including more sprint races, because he says it goes against the sport’s DNA
We’re heading into seasons where at some point you have 24-25 races, because that’s where we’re going, and if we then start adding more stuff, it wouldn’t be worth it to me anyway. I don’t enjoy that.
It’s not just about the hectic schedule, said the Red Bull star, one of the most formidable talents of a generation.
The son of former F1 star Jos Verstappen said the sprint format was not in the ‘DNA’ of F1 and was therefore not as much about racing skill.
“For me, sprinting is all about staying alive, it’s not about racing,” he said.
“For me, when you have a fast car, there’s nothing to risk. I’d rather keep my car alive and make sure you have a good race car for Sunday.
And even if you change the format, I don’t find it to be the DNA of Formula 1 to do these kinds of sprints.
F1 is all about making the most of it in qualifying and then having an amazing Sunday, good long distance racing.
“It’s the DNA of the sport and I don’t understand or don’t know why we have to change that because I think the business has been good.”
Max Verstappen’s Red Bull will start the Australian Grand Prix on pole after passing qualifying
He says the best way to make racing more exciting is to bridge the gap between the best and worst teams on the grid
As he looks for a third consecutive drivers’ championship, Verstappen said the best way to make racing more exciting, is to close the gap between those teams at the top of the grid. And those in the midfield or in the back.
“How to get more action is about bringing the cars closer, and getting more teams able to fight for the win,” he said.
And I naturally think the show is going to be great. If we had six or seven teams already fighting for the win, that would be crazy. Then you really don’t need to change anything.