Max Verstappen has again hit out at the Formula 1 Sprint format as he prepares for what will likely be a championship-clinching weekend.
The Dutchman has been critical of the alternative schedule since it was introduced in 2021 and after changes to the format this term, just one practice session will take place on Friday, followed by a qualifying outing to set the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix.
Saturday, meanwhile, consists of a second qualifying session that is dedicated to the sprint race that takes place later in the day.
Verstappen enters the weekend on the verge of sealing his third F1 title and is likely to do so during the Saturday sprint rather than in Sunday's Grand Prix.
However, Verstappen is unbothered over the possibility of winning the championship outside of the traditional race.
“It’s not like it came out of the blue that I was going to win the championship here, or next week,” he told media including RacingNews365.com. “So I don't think it really changes a lot.
“I know that if I win or whatever I achieve on Saturday, you win the championship, but I think we're very focused on the main job anyway, just to have a good weekend.”
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“I prefer the normal racing format. I think it's just a bit more exciting,” added Verstappen.
“Especially in qualifying, you can go more to the limit because you know more of what you've done in practice.
“For example in in Suzuka, if you do FP1 there and then go straight into qualifying, you risk having bigger shunts.
“It’s just not as fulfilling. I always keep saying that once we do a sprint race, you will get the big picture anyway for the main race.
“So you know, more or less already: ‘Oh, well, this guy is going to be really good in the race, the other one is going to drop back’.
“So it takes a little bit of the excitement away. I remember from what I was a fan, just from the outside of the F1 world, you don't know which cars are particularly amazing in the long run.
“You watch qualify like, ‘oh, wow, OK’, but it might be that one car is in front and he will drop back in the race, which is all unclear. And then you wake up for the Sunday race, and then you all see them fall.
“Because of the sprint race... it takes that away. You're like: ‘If nothing happens, he doesn't crash, they're gonna win the race’, that team or whatever.”