Max Verstappen believes that drivers who aren’t prepared for the intensity of modern Formula 1 should stop racing.
The F1 calendar has steadily grown over the past 20 years, from 16 Grands Prix in 2003 to a record 24 scheduled for next year.
Though doubts over the viability of the Chinese Grand Prix may mean the 2023 calendar runs instead to 23 races, this would still be the longest F1 season ever, and Verstappen said those unprepared for the intensity should leave the sport.
“If you’re not prepared, then it’s better to stop already, right?” Verstappen told The Guardian. “I think we’re all racers and we love racing.”
After emerging triumphant in 2021 following a season-long championship battle with Lewis Hamilton that went down to the last lap of the final race, Verstappen successfully defended his title this year, winning the 2022 crown with four races to spare.
Discussing the tension of the 2021 title race, Verstappen said he wouldn’t wish to go through it on a regular basis.
“You can’t have that drama every single year, for sure. It’s not good for me, it’s not healthy for anyone in the team – both teams,” said the Dutchman.
“Of course it’s just that it’s nice to have a season like I had last year, but it’s also nice to have a season like I have this year. It just would be very tough if you have that every single year, the year I had last year.
“But that also doesn’t really happen in F1, so it should be okay.”
Verstappen braced for closer title fight in 2023
While Verstappen won this year’s title with relative ease, he was aided by a series of driver errors, strategic blunders and mechanical unreliability from Ferrari.
After a difficult season, Mercedes also finished 2022 strongly, with George Russell taking the Silver Arrows’ only win of the year in Sao Paulo, and Verstappen said he was expecting both teams to challenge hard in 2023.
“I do think [the 2023 title fight] will be closer,” Verstappen explained.
“People are understanding the cars a lot more and over time all the teams will just edge closer.
“We know over the winter that we really have to keep pushing and keep trying to find performance, and not only performance; understanding possibly the tyres even more, because the tyres will change a bit for next year.
“Let’s see how we are going to manage all of that.”
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