Verstappen Dismayed by China Sprint Format

“Not the Wisest Thing to Do” – Verstappen Critiques China Sprint


F1’s return to China with a sprint format irks Verstappen, challenging drivers and teams after a long hiatus.

Max Verstappen is going to loathe this! The upcoming Grand Prix in China will feature a sprint format—a format the Milton Keynes driver has repeatedly expressed disdain for.

Consequently, there will only be a single free practice session in Shanghai… despite F1 not having raced there since 2019, pre-Covid.

The uncertainties will thus be numerous and varied in China.

This has already caused Max Verstappen to chafe: the Dutchman believes F1 has poorly chosen its first sprint destination!

“Yes, that’s very smart to do that…”

“I think it’s not great, to put it mildly, to do this. Because when you haven’t been to a circuit for a while, you never know what you’re going to encounter, right? So, it would have been better to have a normal race weekend in China.”

“But on the other hand, it probably adds a bit more spice, and maybe that’s what they want to see. But yes, from a driving and performance standpoint, it’s not the wisest thing to do.”

“I’ve always enjoyed driving there. So, yes, I hope we won’t need to tweak too much on the car to be at our best.”

Good news for the spectacle, bad for the drivers: the sprint weekend in China also leaves Sergio Pérez of the other Red Bull feeling ambivalent.

“Yes, I just hope there aren’t any issues with the circuit, with sewer covers, or any other problem like that. That would knock us out of contention. But for the show, it’s probably a good thing. It’s a good thing.”

“But from a preparation standpoint, it’s going to be very tough because… I’ve never raced there with Red Bull, so there will be a lot to get through in just one free practice session.”

Sainz already dreads more disqualifications…

Carlos Sainz is also delighted to return to China – but less so with an immediate sprint format.

“Yes, these are two different issues. China is a great circuit. I think it’s one of our favorites. This circuit offers good overtaking opportunities, so having a sprint race makes sense in China.”

However, the Ferrari driver recalls the downsides of sprint format weekends: in Austin last year, Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton were disqualified because their floor was overly worn. Neither Ferrari nor Mercedes F1 could make sufficiently safe adjustments due to the limitation of free practice to a single session.

“At the same time, this is what we said in the drivers’ briefing… we’re telling FIA and Formula 1 that it’s not ideal to go to a circuit with the current cars… under these conditions: with one hour of free practice and then going straight to qualifying. Especially with the regulations they’ve set up, with floor wear… And we know how much a single bump can make the car tricky.”

“I think it’s not a good choice to put the Sprint in China, after four or five years of absence. We’ve also heard there’s been resurfacing going on, so maybe Istanbul 2.0 is on the cards (very slippery track)! “

“So yes, it clearly indicates the uncertainty that awaits. Maybe for you, at home, it’s exciting, but for engineers and drivers, it’s something that, in my opinion, we shouldn’t be taking a risk on. There should have been a normal weekend.”

Verstappen Dismayed by China Sprint Format. Verstappen Dismayed by China Sprint Format

Next Race
Emilia-Romagna GP
(May 17 - 19)
Session Time
Free Practice 11:30 PM - 2:30 PM
Free Practice 25:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Free Practice 312:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Qualifying 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Race 3:00 PM
Upcoming Events
Date Series Race
19/05F1 Emilia-Romagna GP Italy
26/05F1 Monaco GP Monaco
9/06F1 Canadian GP Canada
23/06F1 Spanish GP Spain
30/06F1 Austrian GP Austria

Subscribe to our newsletter

Go toTop