Ex-Formula 1 Champion Damon Hill has told Max Verstappen to quit F1 as he fears the Dutchman no longer enjoys the sport following his comments ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Hill’s concern arises after Verstappen’s criticism of Formula 1’s potential changes to the sprint weekend format.
Verstappen threatened to quit F1 over format changes to sprint weekends, saying: “Even if you change the format, I don’t find that is in the DNA of Formula 1 to do these kind of sprint races.
“I hope there won’t be too many changes, otherwise I won’t be around for too long.”
Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 podcast, Hill warned that Verstappen’s comment made the Red Bull driver sound like someone who was losing interest in competing.
“Max’s retirement threat is very unusual. It is kind of strange to hear, isn’t it? I mean, what’s he gonna do with himself?
“He should stop now, really. Stop now – he’s done it! You mentioned fun – I think that’s a very important point. Is he having fun, because I sometimes think he’s not having fun. I think you have to love what you’re doing, otherwise it’s a grind.”
Verstappen spoke about his further frustrations with the sport at the Australian Grand Prix, complaining about the growing length of a championship.
“We’re heading into seasons where you have at one point 24, 25 races, because that’s where we’re going to head into and if we start adding even more stuff, it’s not worth it for me anyway. I’m not enjoying that.
“And for me, a sprint race is all about surviving. It’s not about racing. For me, when you have a quick car, there’s nothing to risk.”
F1 bosses are considering a change to the weekend format ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that would see two standalone qualifying sessions. One for the sprint, and one for the Grand Prix.
When pushed on the subject of Verstappen’s threat, Martin Brundle said he would be “surprised” to see the two-time champion quit.
“If he doesn’t want to drive it there will be a million other people who do want to drive that Red Bull,” Brundle said.
“I think what he’s trying to say is don’t mess around too much, Let’s just evolve and message this along. Don’t keep changing the ground rules.”