Max Verstappen Acknowledges Formula 1’s Evolving Format, Describing it as a ‘Circus’

Max Verstappen has voiced his concerns about the constant alterations to the Formula 1 format, likening the sport to a “circus.” Verstappen, a vocal critic of Sprint weekends since their inception, has proposed a solution to prevent driver disqualifications during such events.

Verstappen’s Displeasure with Sprint Weekends:
Ever since the concept of Sprint weekends was introduced, Verstappen has consistently expressed his disapproval, frequently conveying his dissatisfaction to the media. While some drivers may appreciate the format, there is a prevailing sentiment in the paddock that changes are necessary.

A key issue that Verstappen identifies is the timing of the introduction of parc fermé, which currently takes effect ahead of qualifying after Free Practice 1. This premature implementation played a role in the disqualification of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc at the 2023 United States Grand Prix. Verstappen contends that this early introduction leaves teams stuck with potentially suboptimal setups for the entire Sprint weekend.

To address this concern, Verstappen suggests implementing two separate Parc Fermés for Sprint weekends – one for Saturday and another for Sunday. This, he believes, would allow teams the flexibility to make necessary setup changes between the Sprint race and the traditional feature race.

Expressing his desire for stability in the sport, Verstappen advocates for maintaining the current format and reducing the frequency of changes. He emphasizes the risks associated with constant alterations, stating that it makes him “feel lost” and transforms Formula 1 into “a circus.”

“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,” Verstappen told Auto Motor und Sport.

“One Parc Fermé for Saturday and one Parc Fermé for Sunday, for example,” said Verstappen.

“That would be a bit risky. I think the current format is very good,” added the Red Bull driver.

“I already don’t like the current format either with that mandatory medium-medium-soft tyre selection. We already don’t know what’s wise: one fast lap, or still a fast lap, followed by a cool-down lap and another fast lap? Even I can’t keep track of exactly what the rules are anymore, which makes me feel lost. It’s like a circus.”