Verstappen reserves judgement on F1's sprint races

"Let’s just wait. It’s difficult to say anything about it until we’ve tested it this weekend"

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 3:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2021, 3:40 pm
Verstappen was the winner of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone last year

F1 enters uncharted territory this weekend at the British Grand Prix with the introduction of the sprint race format.

Saturday is traditionally the day for qualifying, but instead the session will be shifted to Friday evening, with a 100km 'sprint race' taking place on Saturday to establish the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix.

Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen heads into the new dawn leading the championship standings by 32 points from Lewis Hamilton. With the untested format set to make it's debut, Verstappen said he is eager to see how it pans out.

"I'm very open about trying the sprint races and I quite like that we have a bit less practice before we head into qualifying," he said. "But let’s just wait. It’s difficult to say anything about it until we’ve tested it this weekend.

"Every race you take risks but controlled risks, especially when you are fighting for a championship, but this one race isn’t going to define the end result."

Team-mate Sergio Perez added: "It will be interesting to see the new race format for Formula One too. As a Team we have put in a lot of effort to understand the new race format, a lot of preparation and practice has gone into this weekend. It will be very different for everyone, it’s definitely exciting and I hope that the hard work pays off."

A capacity crowd is expected to fill Silverstone this weekend, with up to 140,000 fans packing the 3.6-mile track - the first sell-out Grand Prix since the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2019.

Verstappen said: "Having fans back will really make the difference at Silverstone and the British crowd love motorsport in general which means it is a special place to be.

"Last year we did two races with no crowds and the atmosphere was missing, it’s of course still an amazing track, but to have the fans back again is going to make it even better and even though I know they will be supporting the British drivers I love to see the passion that they have for all of us. I just hope that the race is going to be exciting for them too."