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Max Verstappen

Verstappen shares more favourable F1 sprint race opinion

Max Verstappen has been a vocal critic of F1’s use of sprint races since the start of the 2021 season, but has now shared a more positive view on the most recent format alteration.

Verstappen China
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Max Verstappen has been an outspoken critic of F1 Sprint weekends, but the Red Bull driver has praised the most recent change to the format.

The Chinese Grand Prix returns to the F1 calendar this weekend after a five-year absence, with the Shanghai International Circuit also playing host to the first Sprint weekend of the season.

A major change to the format for this year allows teams to make changes by opening parc fermé restrictions for three hours between the sprint and grand prix qualifying on Saturday.

Previously, the car set-up was locked in place for the entire weekend after the sole practice session of the weekend.

“Well, I think it makes more sense,” the three-time drivers’ champion told media including RacingNews365.

“For me, I think actually the most annoying bit about it before was that after FP1 you would go into qualifying and if you wouldn't, let's say, nail the setup, you're stuck with it for the rest of the weekend.

“That can really hurt your weekend. I think now, at least we have a few more opportunities to try and make it perfect. I think that's better for racing overall.”

'I think it will be better'

Part of Verstappen’s opposition to the Chinese Sprint weekend, in particular, is due to the fact F1 has not been to the Shanghai International Circuit in half a decade.

With new cars, a new track surface and only one hour of practice time, F1 could be in for a chaotic weekend on circuit – something multiple drivers have highlighted in the run-up to the event.

However, the Dutch driver acknowledges the element of unknown as potentially being good for fans and good for the business side of F1.

“Of course, we haven't been here in a couple of years. So, it probably also spices it up a little bit more and is a bit more unknown,” he explained.

“Things can happen, I guess, when you're not as well prepared. So, I guess that's always a bit more interesting for the fans, etc.”

Despite this, he does not feel the reasons above are enough alone for the Chinese Grand Prix to be a Sprint race this year, reiterating his stance that F1 should have opted for a normal weekend in Shanghai.

“No, not necessarily,” he responded when asked if the contributing factors were sufficient justification for F1’s decision.

“Ideally, of course, I would have would have preferred a normal weekend here. But at least now we get to try the new format, and hopefully that already will be better.

“And I think it will be better than what we had before.”

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