Max Verstappen has urged Formula 1 to revert to its traditional format and “scrap” the sprint schedule.
F1 Sprint underwent further changes for the Baku race weekend, with two separate qualifying sessions setting the grid for the shorter Saturday race and Sunday’s grand prix.
Previously, there was just one qualifying session that determined the sprint starting order, with that race result then forming the grand prix grid.
Verstappen has been critical of the sprint format since its inception in 2021 and took aim once again after the opening race of the weekend in Azerbaijan.
“Just scrap the whole thing,” he said. “I think it’s just important to go back to what we have and make sure every team can fight for the win.
“That’s what we have to try and aim for and implement all these kinds of artificial excitement, I would say.
“I got bored through today’s qualifying to be honest. I like to have one particular qualifying where you put everything in it and that was yesterday, which I of course enjoyed.
“Then you have to do it again today like ‘my god, another qualifying’, I just don’t really enjoy that.”
Verstappen wasn’t the only driver that was critical of the changes to the sprint, with his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez suggesting that the time between the Saturday sessions was too long.
“It’s the pressure, especially for the top teams, it can only go wrong for you,” he said.
“Just making a mistake can be extremely costly through the weekend, especially FP1, especially here, where there’s no room for errors.
“The format, I feel like after doing the sprint [shootout], there is four hours waiting and I think it’s just a little bit too much.
“Probably we have to review the timings and make it a bit more efficient and keep everyone more in the zone and make it a little bit shorter.”
Perez prevailed in the Baku sprint race, besting Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who started from pole position.
While Leclerc acknowledged that the new format is an improvement from the previous sprint schedule, he warned F1 against making it a consistent fixture.
“I think it’s a better format than last year’s sprint format,” he said, “but I wouldn’t want this to be the standard in the future.
“I think it’s fine, three to four races like this in a year. As Checo said it puts a lot more pressure on the drivers because basically there is only one session where you can do a mistake which is FP1.
“After that every lap you do is really important and you also have less preparation, the prep on the simulator beforehand is important.”
“To change, maybe the rule of the new Soft in SQ3, to be able to at least use a used Soft.
“It’s a shame to not see Lando [Norris] drive as he didn’t have a set of tyres, and the timing as Checo said, there’s a few things that can be improved to change those weekends.”