Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc unite as Red Bull star hits out at Imola schedule

Chris Evans says Max Verstappen needs to 'be a bit nicer'

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Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and a host of drivers have called upon F1 to change the sprint weekend format. Imola will host F1’s first sprint race of the 2022 season with qualifying taking place on Friday afternoon.

The race results on Saturday then set the grid for Sunday’s race meaning any incidents or crashes can ruin a weekend. The pair have both claimed they are not a fan of the current race format with Leclerc calling for a standalone race with less jeopardy.

The drivers have also attacked the weekend format which sees drivers forced to the track on Thursdays for media activities.

Verstappen said: “Personally I’m not a fan of the sprint but it is what it is… some like it some don’t. I think it’s more how we are doing the press conference and the media activities, I think it was better before.”

He added: “Coming in early is not a problem but your whole day is longer, going to more races you would like to have a shorter weekend. But actually now with more races we are now having longer weekends, more days we are at the track doing stuff so that definitely needs to change.”

Leclerc mimicked Verstappen’s comments, claiming F1 could do “something better” with the sprint races.

He said: “On the format, I quite like the Friday to be honest just because a normal Friday is normally pretty boring we have FP1, FP2, FP3, lots of practice.

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“Now it’s straight to the point so I quite like this. Then for the Saturday, I believe we could maybe do something better, either having a standout race which doesn’t affect Sunday’s race to have a bit more action on the Saturday and people taking more risks.”

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz added: “I agree with Charles on the sprint idea, it’s something we are discussing with FOM and FIA to try and spice up a bit the sprint weekends. I agree with Max we are going towards more number of races but for some reason that maybe we didn’t expect this year both Thursday and Friday have become a lot longer for the drivers.”

Sebastian Vettel also weighed into the argument, claiming F1 needed to find a “better way” to organise its sprint weekends.

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