Formula 1

F1 News: Max Verstappen Advocates for Sprint Race Regulation Overhaul – “That Really Sucks”

Max Verstappen, a three-time F1 champion, has called for significant changes to the Sprint Race weekend regulations, particularly following the controversial disqualification of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc at the 2023 US Grand Prix. Verstappen’s outspoken critique highlights the challenges and inflexibility drivers face under the current setup and tyre rules.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hamilton and Leclerc’s Race Exit: Their disqualification was due to their cars’ excessive plank wear, a problem not detected until post-qualifying. This issue, exacerbated by the Sprint weekend format and the challenging Austin circuit, locked them into their initial setups, ultimately leading to their exit from the race.
  • Verstappen’s Perspective: Expressing his concerns, Verstappen pointed out the inflexibility of car setup rules during Sprint weekends. He emphasized the difficulty in adapting to unexpected track conditions once the qualifying rounds are completed.
  • Proposed Revisions: Advocating for more adaptable regulations, Verstappen proposed the idea of having two separate Parc Fermé rules for Sprint weekends. He also criticized the compulsory tyre selection protocol, suggesting that the current system restricts strategic flexibility.

In a detailed response to the recent events at the US Grand Prix, Max Verstappen has brought to light significant issues with the current Formula 1 rules. The disqualification of Hamilton and Leclerc, driven by the excessive wear on their cars’ planks, highlights the rigid and sometimes punishing nature of the regulations, especially during Sprint Race weekends. The uneven and demanding Austin circuit, combined with the unyielding rules of the Sprint format, left the drivers with no option but to continue with their initial setups – a decision that ultimately led to their disqualification.

Verstappen’s dissatisfaction was clear in his interview with Auto Motor und Sport. He expressed his frustration with the current system, stating, “If you went even slightly the wrong way in FP1, you’re stuck with that setup for the rest of the sprint weekend. That really sucks.” This statement underscores the limited scope drivers have to adjust their strategies once the weekend’s racing has begun.

Furthermore, Verstappen suggested significant changes to the current rules. He proposed implementing two different Parc Fermé conditions for Sprint weekends, a move that could offer teams more flexibility in adapting to track conditions. Critiquing the tyre selection rules, Verstappen added, “We’ve had some really good sprint weekends this year, but I wasn’t completely satisfied. Take the ride height in Austin. Mercedes and Ferrari didn’t set their cars too low on purpose. But once you take the wrong turn [in terms of setup], there is no turning back. At most you can force something with the tire pressure. But if those prescribed values are already very high, then you’ve been seen.”

This push for change by a leading figure like Verstappen could be a significant turning point in how Formula 1 Sprint Race weekends are regulated. His comments reflect a growing sentiment among drivers and teams for a more flexible and adaptive approach to racing regulations, ensuring fair play and competitive integrity in the sport.

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