Max Verstappen Criticizes Inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix
Max Verstappen, a three-time Formula 1 champion, has publicly criticized the upcoming inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, despite being favored to win the event. In an interview with ESPN, Verstappen described the race as “99% show and 1% sporting event.” His comments have sparked controversy and overshadowed the anticipation for the race.
Verstappen’s main point of contention is the track itself, which features a 17-corner layout and a nearly 2km long straight down the Las Vegas Strip. He expressed his dissatisfaction, stating that he found the track uninteresting due to its lack of challenging corners. He also criticized street circuits in general, describing them as unexciting, especially with the current heavier cars.
The controversy escalated when Verstappen skipped an opening-night VIP party at Wynn Las Vegas, an event that F1 president Stefano Domenicali had requested all drivers to attend. This action further fueled speculation about Verstappen’s disinterest in the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Verstappen’s negative sentiments were also directed at the opening ceremonies, where all 20 drivers were introduced to the crowd in a spectacle that included a drone show, fireworks, and musical performances. Verstappen expressed discomfort with the ceremony, stating that he felt like “a clown” participating in the orchestrated introductions.
In his defense, Verstappen clarified that he was simply voicing his honest opinion, and that his preference for a focus on performance rather than showmanship was rooted in his upbringing. He also downplayed the significance of his opinion, acknowledging that ultimately, the race organizers would make decisions based on their own interests, regardless of the drivers’ preferences.
Despite the controversy, Verstappen remains the favorite to win the Las Vegas Grand Prix, which is scheduled to take place at 10 p.m. on Saturday. His performance on the track will be closely watched, as his remarks have overshadowed the anticipation for the event.