Max Verstappen leads calls for major change to Las Vegas Grand Prix

'Maybe it would be ideal to find a different kind of date.'

Max Verstappen leads calls for major change to Las Vegas Grand Prix
F1 Grand Prix of Las Vegas - Day 2
Max Verstappen won the first ever Las Vegas GP last weekend (Photo: Getty)

Max Verstappen is among the Formula One drivers who have called for a major change to the sport’s calendar regarding the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

F1’s return to Sin City last weekend was a mixed bag overall, with a fantastic race overshadowed somewhat by organisational issues and lawsuits from fans.

The reception from drivers was mixed to positive with praise for the racing, though the street circuit itself came under criticism, but some including Verstappen were unhappy that the ‘show’ was being prioritised ahead of the sport itself.

But one thing that pretty much every driver agreed on was that the schedule of the weekend was far too gruelling, as not only were they forced to take part in off-track events but the racing itself took place late at night through to the early hours of the morning local time.

Unsurprisingly, this left everyone involved incredibly tired and to make matters worse, they have to travel halfway around the world to go racing again this weekend at the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Some have expressed concern over the 12-hour time difference between the two grand prix venues and called for Las Vegas to be held without a race directly before or after it.

But the 2024 calendar was decided months ago, with Vegas set to kick-off a season ending triple header on 23rd November, followed by Qatar on 1st December and then Abu Dhabi on 8th December.

Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix
The Las Vegas GP finished at 00:35 local time (Photo: Getty)

‘What?! No way!’ was the reaction of AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo when told about next year’s scheduling.

‘Yeah, that does not have my vote. And now, knowing that, they need to bring it forward, because we will be wrecked, especially end of the season. I’ve done like six races, and I already feel it, so hopefully they can make something work.

‘After Thursday, after that late [FP2] session, I feel like probably all of us have been a little bit delirious and hallucinating, so it felt like a bit of a whirlwind since then.’

F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Abu Dhabi hosts the F1 season finale this weekend (Photo: Getty)

Verstappen also called for the calendar to be tweaked, saying: ‘For next year maybe that is not possible but to maybe make it a bit better travelling also to Abu Dhabi.

‘At the moment it’s such a big time shift that, especially at the end of the season when everyone is already a bit tired, I think it’s a little bit much. So, maybe it would be ideal to find a different kind of date because I find that maybe we need to do more of an American tour.

‘Of course, maybe for ticket sales I don’t know if that’s ideal, so maybe we can find a bit of a solution there. I think the 12-hour time zone shifts and also completely different timings for racing, I find that a bit much.’

Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez concurred and suggested that Vegas would be better suited hosting the season finale itself.

He added: ‘I think it was a great first event but like Max says, just to think about that we have to go now to Abu Dhabi, probably the longest distance that we have to travel the whole year.

‘So yeah, probably look at it and make Vegas the final race.’

MORE : Mercedes confirm Lewis Hamilton’s replacement for Abu Dhabi practice

MORE : Las Vegas Grand Prix hit with lawsuit over ‘deprived’ fans who were forced to leave early

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