An exasperated Max Verstappen joked he can’t wait for the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix sprint weekend, making clear his disdain for the format he’s criticised at every opportunity across the season.
Verstappen has long railed against the format first introduced to Formula 1 in 2021, despite being by far the most successful sprinter with five victories – two-time winner Valtteri Bottas is the only other driver with multiple sprint successes.
And ahead of the sixth sprint of 2023 Verstappen doubled – or sextupled – down on his opposition to F1’s bright new thing with dripping sarcasm.
“Yeah, it’s been absolutely fantastic, it’s so much fun,” Verstappen told the media. “I get so excited by having a sprint again. I’m all for it.”
Verstappen‘s taken three Saturday victories from five so far in 2023, but he was denied by George Russell in both the sprint and grand prix 12 months ago at Interlagos.
The 2023 Brazilian GP marks the third sprint in just four races after Qatar and Austin, putting an additional strain on teams in a breakneck period where they’ve faced six grand prix in eight weeks.
Stroll makes the case for sprints
Verstappen appeared alongside Lance Stroll, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris in F1‘s first press conference of the weekend, and the quartet reflected how sprint races have divided the sport both on and off the grid.
Both Norris and Ricciardo agreed they’d rather F1 return to the traditional weekend format, though the Australian conceded having six over a season of 24 races does add some welcome variety for drivers.
Stroll was the most vocal advocate for sprints though, despite looking like he was ready quit F1 on the spot in Qatar.
“I don’t mind them, I think it’s it’s exciting every time you get in the car, you know there’s something to fight for,” Stroll added. “And more action for everyone watching back home too.
“Last week, after having the sprint in Austin and then going to Mexico and having that more normal weekend, I felt like there was a lot of practice, Friday was a long day and Austin was kind of just full on.
“There’s something to fight for in every session and I think it was a much more exciting weekend than Mexico so I definitely think it spices things up and makes it interesting for everyone watching at home.”