"I won't be around for too long" - Max Verstappen threatens to quit Formula 1 amid sprint decision
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Red Bull star Max Verstappen has threatened to quit Formula One if plans from the sport's hierarchy to expand the number of sprint events come to fruition.
The shortened-race format was initially introduced in 2021 with three rounds. However, that tally has been doubled to six this season with the first set to take place in Azerbajan on 30 April.
In its current format, the sprint takes place on Saturday with Friday qualifying determining the grid. The result of the sprint subsequently determines the order for Sunday's Grand Prix.
However, an additional qualifying session as part of Saturday's schedule could set the grid for the sprint, meaning that Friday's qualifying result would then be the starting order for the main event on Sunday.
Alarmingly, this format could be introduced as early as the end of the month in Baku with an informal meeting of the grid's top players set to take place in Melbourne ahead of this Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.
But reigning champion Verstappen, who will start in pole position at Albert Park on Sunday, shared his disagreement with the proposal, saying: “I hope there won’t be too many changes, otherwise I won’t be around for too long.
“I am not a fan of it at all. When we do all that kind of stuff, the weekend becomes very intense and we already do a lot of races. But it is not the right way to go about it.
“I understand they want to make every day at the track exciting but they should reduce the weekend, and only race on Saturday and Sunday and make those two days exciting.
“We are heading into seasons where we could have 24 or 25 races and if you then start adding more it is not worth it for me. I will not enjoy that.
“And even if you change the format, I don’t find that is in the DNA of Formula One to do these kind of sprint races.
“F1 is about getting the most out of it in qualifying and have an amazing Sunday over a long race distance. That is the DNA of the sport and I don’t understand why we need to change that.
“How do you get even more action? Get the cars closer, and have more teams fighting for the wins. The show would then be great if we had six or seven teams fighting for the win.
“That would be insane and then you wouldn’t need to change anything.”
The Dutchman, who leads the 2023 World Championship by one point after two races, is currently contracted to Red Bull until 2028 on a £40m-a-year deal.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Formula 1, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing