Verstappen’s verdict on sprint races: I’d rather lose a point than crash

Red Bull's Max Verstappen has won three out of the six sprint events in Formula 1 history.

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Max Verstappen doubled down on his dislike of F1‘s new sprint races, and added he wouldn’t be racing full bore on Saturday at the Azerbaijan GP.

The new format announced for Baku sees the sprints uncoupled from the grand prix, with their own qualifying session on Saturday morning before the race in the afternoon, with qualifying for Sunday’s grand prix taking place on Friday.

Verstappen previously hinted if these changes continue he may not stay in F1 beyond 2028, when his current Red Bull deal expires.

“Everyone already knows my opinion about but I think just looking at the weekend, it will be a bit more chaotic to get everything right,” Verstappen told the media.

“There’s a little bit more risk involved now with qualifying, but I think when you look at the sprint race itself, the risk will be the same because you don’t want to potentially damage your car, which then also influences the development of the car.

“And I would rather lose one point than lose development.”

Despite his criticisms, Verstappen has a strong record at sprint events since they were introduced in 2021.

That season he gained points on title rival Lewis Hamilton in all three sprint qualifying sessions, and in 2022 he took victory in two out of three sprints.

‘Difference of opinion’

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – April 24, 2022 General view of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during the race while the safety car is out REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Despite Verstappen‘s comments, which came before the new sprint format was announced publicly, F1 remains fully committed to the events.

Verstappen accepted he was looking at it from a different point of view than the sport’s key stakeholders and promoters, but insisted he was only speaking his gut instinct.

“At the end of the day everyone is entitled to their own opinion of course,” Verstappen said, “and sometimes what I think is right, some people don’t agree with.

“But I just think as a pure racer, and when you’re running a business, it’s sometimes different. I guess it’s just a difference in opinion.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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