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Formula 1 Emilia Romagna GP

Verstappen backs call for F1 weekend media format changes

World champion Max Verstappen has supported calls that Formula 1's new weekend format with the media doesn't work for drivers, as it has unnecessarily increased their workload.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Mick Schumacher, Haas F1 Team, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Lando Norris, McLaren, Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo F1 Team, in the Press Conference

Against the backdrop of discussions between the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) related to concerns about the new schedule and drivers' media commitments, Verstappen has suggested changes are needed.

Autosport understands that the GPDA has written to F1 and the FIA to explain what drivers don't like about the new format and how they think things can be changed to make it better for everyone.

It is understood that the drivers feel improvements can be made to the way they have to repeatedly answer the same questions from television crews, as well as the way the current timetable works before track action begins.

This relates to the change of approach to Thursdays and Friday, which were intended to help compress time at the track but appear to have made little impact.

F1 and the FIA have scrapped the formal Thursday media day for 2022 and shifted official press conferences to Friday morning in a bid to create a shorter three-day format.

However, drivers have been kept just as busy on Thursdays with other commitments and now face an extra long day on Friday thanks to the new morning press conference schedule and later running of sessions.

The timing of the press conferences has also proved to not be ideal for media, who have less content on Thursdays and find that a lot of the remarks made on Friday morning, with practice taking place immediately after, are wasted because they are timed out.

Speaking at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix about the driver concerns, Verstappen said: "I think it's more about how we're doing the press conferences and the media activities. I think it was better before.

"Now our Thursday is very long, which officially is not really a day any more. But actually for us, it's the same amount of you, or even more on a Thursday, and even more now on a Friday, where you come in early.

"Coming in early is not a problem, but your whole day is longer. So going to more races, you would like to have a shorter weekend.

"But actually now, with more races, we're also having longer weekends, so at least more days that we are actually at the track and doing stuff. So yeah, that definitely needs to change."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Verstappen said one of the biggest frustrations for him also was the way that drivers had to face being asked the same questions by separate television crews, which got repetitive after a while.

"We do this (press conference), then we go outside, then we have to speak to all the individual [television] media," he said.

"But they all ask the same question. And you basically are repeating yourself six or seven times. You try to keep it interesting to try and word it in a different way but, at the end of the day, you say the same thing, right?

"What you see in other sports, when they have a press conference, there are a lot of mics just brought together. And actually, instead of giving the broadcasters just two questions each, they all have six, eight or ten questions just in one go, and they can all broadcast it.

"So I think that's also way more efficient and nicer for everyone, and you get a lot more out of the drivers."

GPDA director George Russell was clear that the drivers' desire to see things change was not about being confrontational but instead about being constructive in a bid to make F1 better for everyone.

"I've only been around for three years but between all of the drivers, we are incredibly united and we've got constant communication with F1 and the FIA to try to improve our sports in every single aspect," he said.

"It is forever changing but there isn't more to elaborate at the moment. But I think it's important that between drivers, F1 and the FIA we're all on the same page and we're all pushing the same direction."

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