Top F1 Stars Slam Sprint Race In Shanghai

Chinese Grand Prix
Chinese Grand Prix

Top Formula 1 drivers have hit out at the sport’s forthcoming return to China.

F1 hasn’t been to Shanghai since the outbreak of the covid pandemic, but it is now the next stop on the bustling 2024 schedule.

And whilst not criticising China’s return to the calendar, top stars – including triple world champion Max Verstappen – are upset that F1 authorities decided to make it one of the six ‘sprint’ format rounds this year.

“Yeah, it’s very smart to do that,” Verstappen said sarcastically after winning at Suzuka.

“When you’ve been away from a track for quite a while, I think you never know what you’re going to experience. So it would have been better to have a normal race weekend there.”

Indeed, the sprint weekend format gives drivers only a single hour of practice before qualifying begins.

“On the other hand,” the Red Bull driver said, “it probably spices things up a bit more, and that’s maybe what they would like to see. But purely from a performance perspective of the sport, I think it’s not the smartest thing to do.”

Teammate Sergio Perez agrees, noting that F1 is even exposing itself to risk in the event that Shanghai’s first event in years doesn’t hit trouble like “issues with the track, drain holes, things like that”.

Ferrari’s on-form Carlos Sainz says the issue has even been raised in the FIA drivers’ briefing.

“We said to the FIA and Formula 1, with these kind of cars, to go to a track with one hour of practice and straight into qualifying, with the regulations that they give us, with the plank wear and things like this, I think it’s not a good choice,” said the Spaniard.

“Maybe for you guys at home it’s exciting, but for engineers and drivers, we shouldn’t take the risk in my opinion.”

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