Verstappen expects little change after F1's sprint shake-up
Max Verstappen believes the approach of the leading drivers in Formula One will not change with the new sprint format, which debuts this weekend in Azerbaijan.
The new approach will see qualifying for Sunday's race take place on Friday, with Saturday seeing qualifying for the sprint followed by the short-form race itself.
Previously, qualifying would set the order for the sprint, which in turn would decide the line-up for the grid in Sunday's main race.
The idea is to encourage drivers to take more risks in the sprint, though Verstappen is not sure that will be the outcome.
"Maybe some people who are outside the points try to get a point. But once you are upfront, it's not making a massive difference," he told Sky Sports.
"I don't see it being a lot different for us than in the previous sprint weekends. There will be a little bit more chaos around because of the extra qualifying. This track is always quite chaotic, so this will make it a little bit more chaotic.
"From my side, I don't think it will change a lot. If you're first, second, third, you're quite happy in that position to just get the points, get it over with and focus on the race."
Verstappen has regularly been a vocal critic against changing the format of Formula One but admits he will have to cope with the new changes.
"You have to be ok with it. I love racing in general but I do feel like you don't have to touch anything that is great and I always thought that Sunday was great," he added.
"Of course, I understand selling more tickets on the Friday and Saturday, make every day worth fighting for, but when you're doing 24 or 25 race weekends, I think a good option would be to shorten it a bit anyway.
"Some people love racing, they will do it forever, but it also needs to be a healthy option as well. At one point, you start questioning that. Then when you add in these sprint weekends, it's even more busy."
While Verstappen made his concerns clear, McLaren's Lando Norris welcomed the new changes and believes the format is much better than before.
"There's still the budget cap, you don't want to damage the car, you don't want to do anything silly. Especially us, where we're wanting to improve the car as much as possible, the least amount of damage we cause, the better," he said.
"But I'm excited. I think it's a better format, I prefer it compared to what we had before. There's more room and more opportunities for everyone.
"I like the fact you have two qualifying. I love the format of practice, then qualifying on the Friday. The pressure is definitely higher, but it's enjoyable."