McLaren legend questions constant changes to Formula 1 format

F1 has tweaked the format of Sprint races for 2024 with the the Chinese, Miami, Austrian, United States, Sao Paulo and Qatar Grand Prix holding the alternative weekend schedule

-

Former McLaren Formula 1 team coordinator Jo Ramirez has questioned the necessity of constantly changing the format of a Grand Prix weekend.

Since the inaugural Sprint at the 2021 British Grand Prix, F1 has gradually increased the number of Sprint races during a season, from three in 2021 and 2022 to six in 2023 and 2024.

But despite the sport’s bosses claiming the Sprint race idea has been a success, not everyone is a fan. Triple world champion Max Verstappen, one of the prominent critics of the Sprints, has called for them to be scrapped on multiple occasions and return to a regular race weekend format.

“Well, I would probably be afraid to be told that I’m old fashioned, and that’s how we stand today, we have to change, we have to make different things to get the people more involved in it,” told Ramirez exclusively to Total-Motorsport.com.

“To me, the Sprint races are boring, nobody tries as hard as there is not enough reward, whether you win or not. There is more trouble for the teams, and there are more chances to have crashes.

“I can’t remember where it was, [but] there were a few crashes, and then two or three teams had to rebuild the cars for racing the next day, which is not a joke there is a lot of money involved, and a lot of hours and work to get those cars ready for the Grand Prix. 

“Okay, they [the Sprints] improved a little bit, and some of those races were a little better and also, the distribution of the points is better than it used to be before. But why do they always need to change something? I don’t like to be changing things for the sake of changing. I like the traditional way. 

“I think that the Sprint races are here to stay at least four, five or six races every year. Which is not too bad as long as [they] don’t put any more [on], it’s okay.”

Max Verstappen of Red Bull leads Lando Norris of McLaren into Turn 1 during 2023 Brazilian GP Sprint Race | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen of Red Bull leads Lando Norris of McLaren into Turn 1 during 2023 Brazilian GP Sprint Race | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Two-day format ‘dreadful’ for fans

Introducing the Sprint races has reduced practice time from three sessions across a normal weekend to just one practice session before Friday’s Sprint Shootout for 2024.

The Sprint Shootout took place on Saturday mornings in 2023, but the session will now move to Friday afternoon for 2024, with the Sprint on Saturday morning and normal qualifying on Saturday afternoon.

Another idea designed to cut practice time was the two-day race weekend brought in for the 2020 Emilia Romagna GP at Imola. This meant there was no running on Friday, with only one 90-minute practice session on Saturday morning before qualifying.

“I would like to see more practice on Friday for the public to see and for the teams to do more testing,” reiterated Ramirez. “There is no testing at venues anymore, except at the beginning of the year, so it will be nice to see more testing done on the Fridays before the race.

“I think that will be something of an advantage for the fans and for the teams, but they seem to be reducing that maybe one day we’re going to be as already been suggested to just have Saturday and Sundays and nothing on Fridays. 

“And I think that will be dreadful because then, on Friday, the promoters won’t have any time to promote the race for the weekend. So god forbid we’re going to stop [practice] on Fridays because, as I said, it’s a good opportunity for the teams to do some testing and for the fans to see more cars running.”

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
- Advertisment -

LATEST NEWS

Lando Norris after taking Sprint Pole at the 2024 Chinese GP | McLaren F1 Team

Starting Grid for F1 2024 Chinese GP Sprint Race – Provisional

0
In a thrilling conclusion to the Sprint Qualifying at the Shanghai International Circuit, Lando Norris clinched the pole position...

Christian Horner hits back at Sergio Perez as he’s drawn into Carlos Sainz contract...

0
Christian Horner has praised Carlos Sainz as a key player in the 2025 Formula 1 driver market while dampening...
Lando Norris during 2024 F1 testing | McLaren F1 Team

Why Lando Norris’ Chinese GP sprint pole lap was reinstated by FIA

0
Lando Norris experienced the highs and lows of qualifying all in the space of a few seconds after seeing...
Charles Leclerc during the 2024 Australian GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Charles Leclerc vents frustration after Ferrari sprint qualifying failure

0
Charles Leclerc has lamented his latest error in qualifying after the Ferrari driver experienced a frightening near-miss ahead of...
Max Verstappen of Red Bull during Sprint Qualifying at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen gives Hamilton and Norris Chinese GP sprint hope with twin Red Bull worries

0
Max Verstappen conceded he could struggle at the start of the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix sprint race starting on...
Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, practice | Mercedes / Sam Bloxham

Lewis Hamilton at odds with Toto Wolff despite Chinese GP sprint shock

0
Lewis Hamilton believes he maintains a chance of winning the F1 Sprint at the Formula 1 2024 Chinese Grand...
Lando Norris during 2024 Japanese GP | McLaren F1 Team

Lando Norris rides rain and fire to take chaotic Chinese GP sprint pole

0
Lando Norris took the latest of pole positions as carnage ensued in sprint qualifying, with a rain-soaked SQ3 coming...
Grass at the Shanghai International Circuit caught fire during FP1 and Sprint Qualifying at the 2024 Chinese GP | Sky Sports F1

Chinese GP struck by fires as Shanghai Circuit burns on Friday

0
Formula 1 Sprint Qualifying was thrust into chaos on Friday morning when fires hit the Shanghai International Circuit as...
Sergio Perez of Red Bull during Sprint Qualifying at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Chinese Grand Prix 2024 – Sprint Qualifying Results

0
Lando Norris clinched a dramatic Formula 1 pole position during the rain-affected sprint qualifying at the 2024 Chinese Grand...
Max Verstappen of Red Bull during Sprint Qualifying at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Chinese Grand Prix 2024 Sprint Qualifying – Highlights

0
Welcome to this Total-Motorsport.com live blog for Sprint Qualifying at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, coming to you directly from the paddock...
- Advertisment -