Verstappen gets “no satisfaction” from F1 sprint wins

Sprints have been a fixture in F1 since 2021, with the 2023 season featuring six such events.

While the format has added more competitive running, it hasn’t fully delivered on its flat-out action promise, with an entertaining sprint in Qatar followed by dour parade in Austin.

F1 chiefs are now looking at radical format tweaks to make sprints more exciting, with reverse grids, million dollar bonuses and even a separate sprint championship among the ideas that have been floated.

But no possible sprint concept appears to able to convince Red Bull‘s Verstappen of its value, with the triple world champion one of the fiercest opponents of the format.

Having won three of the five sprint events held thus far this year, he revealed those victories didn’t mean much to him other than the extra points he gained.

“There’s no satisfaction to win a sprint for me,” Verstappen said when asked by if sprint format changes would sway his opinion. “You cross the line and say: ‘All right, well, tomorrow is the race, the main one’. That’s how it goes.

“I always say why do we need to try and invent something? I think our product works, if you just make sure that the cars are competitive and they will stay the same for a long time.

“In football, they don’t change the rules or another sports, it’s been like that for 100 years. Why do we suddenly need to come up with other things to try and make it entertaining?

“I think if you have a good race on your hands with cars being close to each other, then you don’t need a sprint format or weekend.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

The current sprint format caught teams out in Austin, where Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton were disqualified for excessive floor plank wear.

Cars were put under parc ferme conditions after Friday’s single practice session, which meant teams could no longer revise their ride heights to account for any wear. The exclusion came out of the blue for Leclerc, who claimed there had been “zero wear” on his Ferrari on Friday night.

“I think we should just get rid of the sprint weekend and then everyone can just set up their cars normally, because it wouldn’t have happened on a normal race weekend,” Verstappen added.

“These things only happen when you have a sprint weekend where everything is so rushed in between FP1 and qualifying and you think: ‘Hmm, we might be okay’.

“Once you are in the wrong, there’s nothing you can do, the only thing you can do is bump up the tyre pressures, but then you’re driving around on balloon tyres.”

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