“There is a tipping point” — Verstappen urges F1 president Domenicali to not “overdo it” on additional Sprint weekends

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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As the sport develops, Formula 1 has been trying out some tactics to keep racing alive, most recently with the introduction of the Sprint weekend.

Trying to balance the traditional race weekend alongside innovative racing formats, the F1 Sprint is back this year with some interesting changes for its fourth season in the sport.

Featuring in six Grand Prix weekends in 2024, including the passed Chinese GP, and upcoming Miami GP this short-form race aims to add an extra dose of adrenaline into the sport.

Unlike the standard 305km-length Grand Prix, the Sprint is all about the sprint to the finish line, with only the top eight drivers earning points. 

There are 8pts for P1, 7pts for P2, and so on to P8, who will score 1pt. This is a major change from the 2021 Sprint point allocation rules, where only the top three drivers were awarded points (3, 2, and 1 respectively).

Formula 1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali has hinted at the possibility of more sprint events coming to future F1 calendars. 

Domenicali has emphasised the importance of keeping fans on the edge of their seats, with more wheel-to-wheel racing on track, claiming that with a Sprint, “every day, there is some action on the track to respect the fans that are coming here and want to have fun.

“It keeps the tension on every day.”

But what do the drivers have to say about all of this? 

Max Verstappen acknowledged the improvements in the sprint format for 2024, “A bit more straightforward, I would say”, following his earlier criticisms of the format.

Amidst this, Verstappen warned against the temptation to overload the calendar with too many sprint events, noting that, “I think we are racing in general a bit too much.”

“Let’s not overdo it,” he urged, acknowledging the toll it takes on the hardworking mechanics and engineers who keep each F1 weekend running smoothly.

“I mean we can’t just keep on adding racing, racing, racing. I mean, there is a tipping point.

“When people woke up on a Thursday, Friday and then they are here for the weekend and then they go back to their offices, it’s a different kind of perspective, you know, for us and the mechanics especially. They are even much more away from home than us. 

“They are under a lot of stress to prepare these cars every single time and especially in a sprint weekend… some people don’t realise that how stressful it is for all these people.”

This sentiment has been echoed by McLaren’s Lando Norris, who highlighted the strain on the team as a whole, claiming: “It’s the hundreds of mechanics and engineers that have to travel so much. It’s not healthy for them. It is not sustainable.”