Max Verstappen warns FIA to not ‘change the entire DNA’ of F1 after Stefano Domenicali’s FP comments
Max Verstappen has warned the FIA against making any changes to Formula 1 that would alter "the DNA" of the sport.
Verstappen's comments come after F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali stated that he was not a fan of free practice sessions and even spoke about abolishing them altogether.
It wasn't the first time Domenicali talked about altering free practice sessions. Last year, he said that they do not have a "purpose" as they provide little entertainment. He even suggested that points could be handed out during free practice sessions to make them more interesting.
The Italian's comments did not sit well with Verstappen, who spoke against meddling with the existing system. He also expressed his dislike for sprint races and the number of Grand Prix in a season. He said (via Motorsport Italy):
“I don't think [Domenicali] meant exactly that [removing free practice sessions[, because obviously you can't go to qualifying without free practice. But I'm not a fan of weekends with sprints, I'm not a fan of the number of races we do nowadays.”
“I'm also not a fan of changing the whole format [without practice sessions]. They have to be careful not to change the entire DNA of Formula 1. I think it's important not to play too much with this aspect, because then, obviously, at a certain point everything stops.”
Despite fitness struggles, Max Verstappen aims to turn Red Bull's fortunes in Australia
Max Verstappen has struggled with fitness after battling illness before the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix earlier this month. Ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, he disclosed that he has still not fully recovered.
Describing the severity of his illness, he recalled:
"At home I was really ill, like I could barely just walk around. It felt like I was just missing a lung, I got to the weekend really believing that it was gone."
That said, Verstappen is looking to solidify his spot at the top of the drivers' standings with a good performance at Albert Park, a venue where success has eluded Red Bull Racing for the most part. Since their entry into F1, the Milton Keynes-based team has won Down Under only once — through Sebastian Vettel in 2011.
Verstappen, however, is keen to change his team's record on a track he enjoys driving. He stated:
"I’m looking forward to going to Australia again. It’s always nice to be there and experience Melbourne a little, although from a racing point of view, it is not one that has been too kind to us over the years. The track is great with some high-speed corners, and one I enjoy driving so hopefully we can have a good race this weekend. We just need it to be straightforward and consistent. We haven’t won there as a team since 2011, so let’s see what we can do."