Formula 1, the pinnacle in motorsport entertainment, is being subjected to a lot of criticism after its show overtook the sport at the Australian Grand Prix. Max Verstappen, F1 champion and Melbourne winner, was worried about the proposed Sprint format shakeup and even warned that he “won’t be here long” if F1 pushes ahead with the initiative.
The sport also faced multiple red-flag periods and grid restarts, one of which was with just two laps left, turning the Formula 1 race into a farce. Nico Hulkenberg from Haas was on record as saying that although this provided great entertainment for fans, it was not suitable for drivers or teams as it is an “American entertainment style”.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff emphasized the importance of safety and commented that together, the F1 community needs to determine under what exact circumstances a race should be interrupted with a Virtual Safety Car and a red flag.
The sentiment was echoed by Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko who believes that the last two laps should have been handled with a Virtual Safety Car, instead of subjecting drivers with used tires to potentially dangerous conditions.
Formula 1 drivers, George Russell and Lando Norris, were also not happy with the direction the sport is heading in as Liberty Media worked to boost the show. Needless to say, other figures in the sport were even more scathing.
Former six-time Grand Prix winner, Ralf Schumacher, even said that the race management should be ashamed of their decisions. The crucial issue here is whether the Americanization of Formula 1 is a bad thing. Is the entertainment aspect a necessary evil to increase fan viewership and make the sport more exciting? Is it worth the risk of subjecting drivers to dangerous conditions?
Whatever the case, one thing is for sure – the sport needs to find a balance between high stakes entertainment and safety for the drivers, which is an absolute must for any sport.
Formula 1 is owned by Liberty Media and is a multi-billion-dollar sport. Liberty Media is dedicated to making Formula 1 the premier form of motorsport entertainment and is responsible for introducing strategies and regulations designed to improve the show.
Max Verstappen is one of the most successful drivers in Formula 1’s current era, with his unprecedented win at the recent Australian Grand Prix being described as the perfect post-race performance. Verstappen is an advocate for making Formula 1 more exciting and it is this passion that drives him to succeed.