F1: Sky Sports presenter proposes second world championship amidst Max Verstappen dominance
Max Verstappen is on target to take his third world championship title, with many looking at ways to bring excitement back to the competition
and live on Freeview channel 276
Sky Sports presenter David Croft has made calls for a second world championship in Formula 1 - amidst domination from Max Verstappen. The pundit said the introduction of the Sprint race could bring a new format into the sport.
Croft, known as Crofty amongst fans and fellow pundits, has said that a Sprint world championship could be introduced alongside the main competition, despite Red Bull’s Max Verstappen speaking out against the current format.
The Dutch driver, 25, currently holds a 125-point lead in the 2023 World Championships, as he makes the push to claim his third straight title. Verstappen has won 10 out of this year’s 12 races, finishing second in the other two races behind his team-mate Sergio Perez.
The Sprint race format was initially introduced in 2021 but only took place a handful of times, before making its return in 2023. Verstappen has also dominated in the Saturday Sprint races, taking five out nine wins.
The two-time world champion has spoken out publicly about the repeated changes to the calendar. Verstappen even went as far to suggest that he could be encouraged to quit Formula 1 if further changes are made.
David Croft, who has worked for Sky Sports since 2012, after presenting at the BBC for the previous 14 years, said: “I think the Sprint concept is good, I like it, but I don’t like it being part of the world championship.
“I’d like two separate world championships, like cricket has T20, ODIs and Test match, and we’ll keep them separate. Have your Sprint day on a Friday maybe, rather than the Saturday. You could go into Sprint qualifying and then the Sprint, with maybe a 20-minute warm up in the morning - that’s your Friday.
"And then the cars are not in parc ferme for the rest of the weekend, because you then have your practice session on the Saturday morning, Saturday qualifying and then the race on Sunday. So you’re keeping the two very separate for different world championships."
Following the latest Sprint race in Belgium, back in July, Verstappen said: "I think luckily it wasn’t too bad, but honestly with these kind of Sprint formats, when you have an FP1 like that… But even when it’s fully dry it’s still a bit hit-and-miss.
"That always makes it very chaotic, that’s why I never really enjoy these kind of weekends because you don’t have the time and once you do a mistake you’re stuck with it for the rest of the weekend and I don’t think it should be like that.
"For sure, you can do better things with the format, but I guess they implemented that for this particular reason, that there is a bit more chaos and people not getting it right. But I don’t think, with how advanced everything is in this sport, that it should be like that, that on a Friday if you arrive with the wrong set-up or you make the wrong call after FP1 then you’re stuck with it for the rest of the weekend."
Verstappen had also previously questioned the changes in April, where he hinted at leaving Formula 1 despite his dominance. The Dutch driver said: "If we keep expanding the calendar and the whole weekend is that long, at one point you question yourself ‘is it worth it?’.
"I do like racing, I do like winning. I know that of course the salary and everything, you have a good life, but is it actually a good life? I think sometimes you get to a point in your career where maybe you want to do other stuff.
David Croft also suggested making the sprint its own championship will give teams the opportunity to decide if they want to participate. The presenter said: "If the teams and all the drivers don’t want to run in the Sprint world championships, fine, there’s enough reserve drivers that do," he said. "Maybe that’s a good way of getting the reserve drivers involved in that. So commercially, that’s kind of what I’d look at."