Three-time Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen has made some unreservedly frank comments about the upcoming Las Vegas Grand Prix, expressing his view that the race is more spectacle than sport. His remarks surfaced in a report by ESPN where he critiqued the event, suggesting it is “99% show and 1% sporting event.”
Max Verstappen’s candid demeanor was evident as he weighed in on the characteristics of the 17-corner track which features a remarkable straight stretching nearly two kilometers down the vibrant Las Vegas Strip. “Yeah, not very interesting. It’s just not many corners, to be honest,” Verstappen stated on Wednesday, hinting at a lack of enthusiasm for the circuit’s layout.
The Belgian racing prodigy went further, articulating his discontent with the new dynamics of racing on street circuits. “I don’t think it’s that exciting, that’s the only thing. I think already for me a street circuit is not that exciting, especially with these new cars, they are just too heavy,” he remarked, dissecting the interplay between the current generation of Formula 1 cars and the urban track.
Fueling the fire of his apparent dissatisfaction, Verstappen conspicuously abstained from an invitation-only event at Wynn Las Vegas. This soirée, designed to mark the start of the racing weekend and garnering personal attendances by fellow drivers, lacked the presence of the outspoken Verstappen, despite a plea from F1 president Stefano Domenicali for full participation.
The ceremonial kick-off to the race weekend was a grand spectacle, replete with drone displays, pyrotechnics, and musical cameos from artists such as Keith Urban, Kylie Minogue, and Journey. Yet it was during this very production that Verstappen’s discomfort seemed most palpable. Each driver was introduced to the audience in an elaborate presentation, emerging from oversized boxes to the crowd’s cheers.
Asserting his preference for authenticity over performance, Verstappen likened his experience to being “a clown,” noting his aversion to the orchestrations of the evening. “I’m also not going to fake it,” he declared. “I just always voice my opinion on positive things and negative things. That’s just how I am.”
Verstappen pressed on to explain that his perspective on Las Vegas’s approach to Formula 1 racing is not filtered through the lens of its entertainment value but that of pure competitive spirit—a viewpoint potentially at odds with the direction the event organizers seem to be aiming for.
With an air of resignation, he suggested that regardless of his opinions, the financial gears of the Grand Prix will turn unabated. “I don’t know, I guess they still make money if I like it or not, so it’s not up to me,” he mused. His acknowledgment that as a driver, his influence on the decisions of race organizers is minimal, led him to a pensive reflection—if positions were reversed, he too would prioritize his vision over the feedback of the competitors.
Despite Verstappen’s critical stance, the anticipation continues to mount as the illustrious driver is tipped to continue his dominance by securing his 18th F1 victory of the season, marking his potential sixth consecutive win when the race unfolds at 10 p.m. this upcoming Saturday.
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