F1 season preview as Max Verstappen looks to defend world title
Max Verstappen faces fresh opposition over F1’s new rules changes after new Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur supported the move. Verstappen threatened to quit F1 if officials pushed ahead with new updates to freshen up the race format.
But, any hope of overthrowing the changes has hit another brick wall after Vasseur backed the new concept. It comes as teams agreed to trial a new qualifying system at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in just over two week’s time.
This will see qualifying on Friday set the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix with a separate standalone session for the sprint race. It is expected a shortened three-part knockout session ran on Saturday morning to set the grid for the shorter event.
It means the sprint will no longer have the jeopardy of setting the grid for Sunday with drivers only competing for extra points.
Perez has also threatened to quit F1 with Verstappen in clear message
He told Russia’s Sport-Express: “The new format should be more dynamic. One can, of course, argue about why these changes are being made so late. But in the end, since we all agree on them without exception, it is worth doing.
“I like the format. I’m not a big fan of the regular practice format, which is sometimes pretty boring. Not for us, because the teams collect a lot of data, but for the audience. If you don’t know what the teams are doing, how much fuel someone has and so on, it can be really boring.
“So trying to make the weekend more dynamic is a good decision.” The new concept will need to be agreed upon by the F1 Commission before it can be formally signed off for the race in Baku.
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Verstappen warned he could be tempted to walk away from the sport completely if F1 bosses tweak too much with the format. He suggested those in charge of the sport should not venture too far away from its heritage.
The 25-year-old commented: “I hope there won’t be too many changes, otherwise I won’t be around for too long. I am not a fan of it at all. When we do all that kind of stuff, the weekend becomes very intense and we already do a lot of races. But it is not the right way to go about it.”
Martin Brundle said he would be “surprised” if Verstappen did decide to give up his seat. However, ex-F1 champion Damon Hill called on the reigning champion to retire if he was no longer having fun.
But, former title rival Lewis Hamilton has also disagreed with Verstappen’s view as he backed a new concept. He explained: “I’m open to changes, to continue to make it more inclusive and more engaging for the fans.
“I quite like the Friday of a sprint weekend so far. I’d love to have more qualifying because that’s always super fun. And I just think it should… different.”
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