Verstappen on sprint races and an expanding calendar: “Is it worth it?”

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Photo credit: Red Bull Racing

Since it’s inception at the 2021 British Grand Prix, Sprint races have received mixed reviews from fans, drivers and teams. Although the teams agreed to double the number of sprint races from three to six for the 2023 season, some drivers and more specifically two-time world champion Max Verstappen, have voiced their concerns over the extra workload that comes with sprint weekends alongside a larger calendar.

Winning three out of the six sprint races and finishing on the podium five times, Verstappen has shown he’s a force not to be reckoned with. In a recent media session before the first sprint weekend of the season at Baku, Verstappen was asked if he’s actually considering a break from the world of Formula 1, following his comments at the Australian Grand Prix earlier this year.

“But if we, you know, keep expanding the calendar and the whole weekend is that long, I won’t bring you to question yourself, is it worth it?

“Yeah, I do like racing. I do like winning. I know that of course you know the salary, everything you know, you have a good life, but. Is it actually a good life?

“I think sometimes, you get to a point in your career where maybe You want to do other stuff.”

A few days ago, the FIA announced that the sprint weekend format will be changing, and that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, happening this weekend, will be the first sprint weekend with the new format. So, what exactly have the FIA changed?

Friday will still be a qualifying day with a little twist. The order from Friday’s qualifying will determine the grid for Sunday’s race, meanwhile, Saturday’s 100km sprint will have its own qualifying session called “sprint shootout” which will determine the grid for the sprint race and will replace the FP2 session that used to take place on Saturday morning.

Baku will be the first of six circuits to host a sprint weekend this season and will be followed by Austria’s Red Bull Ring, Spa-Francorchamps, the newest addition to the F1 calendar Qatar’s Losail circuit, Circuit of the America’s and Interlagos.