Domenicali Counters Verstappen Criticism, Says All Sports Change

Stefano Domenicali, sporting director of F1 owner Liberty Media, has praised Max Verstappen, comparing him to seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, but disagrees with Verstappen’s negative view on sprint racing in Formula 1.

Highlights

‣ Stefano Domenicali, the sporting director of F1 owner Liberty Media, has praised Max Verstappen, comparing him to seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.
‣ Domenicali worked with Schumacher between 1996 and 2006 when he was the team boss of Ferrari, during which time Schumacher became the most successful Formula 1 driver of that time.
‣ The topic of sprint races in Formula 1 has been controversial, with Verstappen expressing dissatisfaction with them, while Domenicali believes they are necessary and plans to keep six sprint races on the calendar.
‣ Domenicali and Verstappen have differing views on the future of sprint racing, with Verstappen calling the constantly new rules for sprint racing ‘madness.’


Stefano Domenicali, the sporting director of F1 owner Liberty Media, has some high praise for Max Verstappen. He’s even comparing him to the seven-time world champion, Michael Schumacher. But, there’s a catch. When it comes to sprint racing, Domenicali and Verstappen don’t exactly see eye to eye.

“Our sport is all about cycles,” Domenicali said on the radio programme La Politica nel Pallone. “It’s a mix of a powerful car and an exceptional driver. And Verstappen? He’s mature, both in qualifying and racing. Reminds me of Schumacher. They don’t leave anything for the others.”

Domenicali and Schumacher, they go way back. Domenicali, 58, was the team boss of Ferrari. He worked with Schumacher, 54, from 1996 to 2006. During that time, Schumacher became the most successful Formula 1 driver ever. He added five world titles to his two from Benetton.

In 2013, Schumacher had a serious skiing accident. He suffered severe brain damage. “Feels like it was just yesterday,” Domenicali said. “Life-changing episodes. I won’t say anything about his current condition, out of respect. What’s between me and the family stays private. But living like this for 10 years, it’s something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.”

Sprint races. They’ve been a hot topic in Formula 1 this season. Six sprint weekends were organized. But not everyone was thrilled. Some say it takes away from the excitement on Sunday. You can already see how the tyres will behave. Plus, the Saturday events feel like standalone events. Verstappen? He gets “zero satisfaction” from sprint races.

Formula 1 is looking to improve, though. “We’ll keep six sprint races on the calendar,” Domenicali said. “But we’re considering some operational changes. The dates show there’s interest. The concept of days dedicated only to free practice [Fridays] isn’t the right direction now. Sports are changing. We have to adapt to what’s happening in the world.”

Verstappen, a three-time world champion, doesn’t agree with Domenicali. He thinks the constant new rules for sprint racing are “madness.” “Why do we always have to try and invent new things?” he said in late October. Next year’s sprint races will be in China, Miami, Austria, Austin, Brazil, and Qatar.

Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez is a senior writer at F1Highlights.com. With a passion for motorsports, Albert brings a unique perspective to the world of Formula One. With over five years of experience as a sports reporter, he has honed his skills in capturing the essence of the sport.

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