F1 Sprint Shootout: Is Max Verstappen one of the biggest critics of this new format?

The Formula One 2023 season’s first sprint race weekend is due this weekend, and there’s a new twist to it. It has received mixed reactions from the F1 world, and current world champion Max Verstappen has his say on it as well.

The sprint is a condensed version of the grand prix, covering only 100 kilometers of the circuit (17 laps) in Baku. It was implemented to add more excitement to certain races by allowing venues to host three days of competitive running (Qualifying on Friday, a sprint race on Saturday, and the actual race on Sunday) instead of just two. 

Max Verstappen

However, for 2023, the format has been redesigned and consists of six events running under a sprint schedule.

Differences between the two formats

The previous format, which had been there since the introduction of sprints in 2021, had the first practice and the main qualifying event take place on Friday, which led to setting the grid for the sprint race. On Saturday, the second practice and the sprint race took place, which would set the grid for the Grand Prix on Sunday.

The new format brings in much shorter qualifying on Saturday. It has been named the Sprint Shootout that will set the grid for the main event. On Friday, the practice and the qualifying will be hosted, but there are differences between Friday and Saturday’s events, especially in the timing.

The Friday Qualifying will have 18, 15, and 12 minutes in the Q1, Q2, and Q3, respectively, whereas the Sprint Shootout will have only 12, 10, and 8 minutes.

Other than timing, what also sets the two formats apart is the tire setup. All participating teams must use brand new tires for the Shootout. Drivers will need to use fresh mediums in Q1 and Q2, and fresh softs in Q3, to set a qualifying lap time.

Max Verstappen considers quitting F1 because of the new format

The previous format has been heavily criticized by teams, who believed Saturday’s practice race to be ineffective. The new one has gotten a mixed reception, as well. Sprint races can be a great revenue generator for race organizers because they can be held over the course of three days. 

Current world champion Max Verstappen thinks otherwise, though, as he made critical comments about the format.

Before the announcement of the new adjustments, Verstappen said the following: “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.”

“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 that they want to have every day exciting, but then I think it’s better to just reduce the weekend — only race the Saturday and Sunday. And if you start adding even more stuff, it’s not worth it for me. I’m not enjoying that.”

Max Verstappen has said the sprint format will cause him to leave the racetrack for good, and newer rules won’t have an impact on his opinion.




Tanzeem Rahman

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Tanzeem Rahman is a soccer writer and an editor at SportsZion. Tanzeem's love for the sport began by watching and admiring Cristiano Ronaldo in his early Manchester United days. Having graduated from Germany as an Electrical Engineer, Tanzeem has watched multiple high-profile games throughout Europe from the gallery. His knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport, as well as sublime english proficiency has been an asset to SportsKnot. Outside of his duty, Tanzeem is a gamer, and loves to spend time watching Anime and reading Manga.


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