Max Verstappen has outlined his thoughts on the way Formula 1 race weekends unfold in 2022, with changes made to ostensibly reduce the length of a Grand Prix weekend from four to three days.
The changes have involved moving the Thursday FIA driver media sessions to Friday morning ahead of practice beginning, but the reality is that drivers are still showing up on Thursday to carry out various duties and other non-FIA media commitments.
As a result, Verstappen was one of the voices expressing his displeasure over the changes for 2022. With F1 set for a 22-race calendar, and the likelihood of it being 23 once the cancelled Russian Grand Prix is replaced, he said more effort needs to be made to ensure shorter weekends for the drivers.
"It's about how we are doing the press conferences and the media activities," he told media, including RacingNews365.com, over the Imola weekend.
"I think it was better before because now, our Thursday is very long, which officially is not really a day anymore but actually, for us, is the same – or even more on a Thursday, and even more now on a Friday when you come in early.
"Coming in early is not a problem, but your whole day is longer, so with going to more races, you would like to have a shorter weekend.
"But actually now, with more
races, we are also having longer weekends, or at least more days that we are at the track and doing stuff, so that definitely needs to change."
Verstappen calls for efficiency regarding media interviews
Asked how the situation could be improved, or whether he would suggest a soft ban on drivers being permitted into the circuit on a Thursday, Verstappen said his biggest issue is with the repetitive nature of television interviews.
While written media sessions group the awaiting journalists together, ensuring a reasonable diversification of questioning, the back-to-back nature of individual TV interviews means the same questions repeated ad nauseum.
"We do this [press conference], then we go outside, then we have to speak to all the individual media," he commented.
"But they all ask the same questions, and you're basically repeating yourself six or seven times! You try, of course, to keep it interesting, to try to word it in a
different way, but, at the end of the day, you say the same thing, right?"
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Verstappen makes a suggestion for F1
Verstappen pointed out that F1 could follow suit on other sports, where there is far more grouping of the media.
they have a press conference, there are a lot of mics just brought
together and, instead of giving the broadcasters two questions each,
they all have, basically, whatever, six, eight, 10 questions, just in
one go, and they can all broadcast it," he added.
"I think that's also way more efficient and nicer for everyone. It doesn't matter if you have 20 mics lined up all from different companies. You get a lot more out of the drivers.
"We already know that, if we leave here, we have to go outside and we have to repeat ourselves at least six to eight times."
Verstappen explained how that process quickly turns sour, regardless of how bright and cheerful he starts out.
"When you start, it's exciting – the first two [interviews]," he said of the current process.
"[Then], when you continue to the other ones, it's going to be boring. It's not nice for them, it's not nice for us, so I think we can be a lot more efficient with that."
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