One of the most talked about rules of the Formula 1 weekend format with Sprint Qualifying, was that relating to the so-called ‘closed park’. With the regulations in force over the Silverstone weekend, the single-seaters could no longer undergo substantial changes from the start of qualifying on Friday until the end of the weekend. This led, for example, to pushing Red Bull to collect Sergio Perez’s car – in the last positions of the Sprint Qualifying after the race – in order to work on the set-up of the car in view of the classic race.
In the press conference held at the end of the Saturday 100km race at Silverstone, Max Verstappen he seemed quite critical of this choice of Formula 1: “After this Sprint Qualifying it seems that we are fast in the corners, while Mercedes is fast on the straight. But after a free practice session you are no longer allowed to make any changes and this leaves you a bit stuck“. The Dutch driver, who complained of a sudden understeer in qualifying at the end of Friday, then added: “The understeer was gone, but you don’t go fast cornering like you do in qualifying. I think the program is to be reviewed, doing a PL2 session without being able to modify the machine in my opinion is wrong“.
For Verstappen, the anticipated ‘closed park’ generates too much randomness: “Now a lot depends on luck, why you have only one free practice session to outline the set-up. Sometimes it will be fine, others less so. If I had been able to put my hand to the setup, I would have chosen to have more top speed than we had“, Said the first poleman of the Sprint Qualifications.