‘We looked liked clowns’ – Max Verstappen blasts Las Vegas opening ceremony
'99% show and 1% sporting event.'
F1 returns to Sin City after 41 years away this weekend at an all-new street circuit, an event that the sport’s chiefs have long dreamt of.
However, before any cars have even taken to the track, there has been much criticism over the disruption the grand prix has caused to local residents, the cost of actually attending the weekend, and that too much emphasis is being put on the ‘show’ rather than the sport.
In the build-up. Verstappen has been the chief critic, just as he was for the Miami Grand Prix, and once again voiced his displeasure after Wednesday night’s opening ceremony which featured performances from the likes of Kylie Minogue and Thirty Seconds to Mars.
It culminated in the drivers being introduced to a sparsely populated crowd on hydraulic platforms accompanied by a sound-and-light show.
‘For me, you can skip this. We are just standing up there, looking like a clown,’ the three-time world champion said.
‘I don’t know [if I’ll complain to F1 chiefs], I guess they still make money if I like it or not, so it’s not up to me! We are not a stakeholder, so we just go with it. They decide what they do, right?
‘I would do the same if I was the owner, I wouldn’t listen to the drivers. It’s my sport, I would do with it what I want if that would be the case.
‘But I’m also not going to fake it, I just always voice my opinion on positive things and negative things. That’s just how I am.
‘Some people like the show a bit more, I don’t like it at all. I grew up just looking at the performance side of things and that’s how I see it as well. So for me, I like to be in Vegas, but not so much for racing.’
Of course, if the racing proves to be spectacular these issues will largely be nullified, but the Red Bull driver admits he doesn’t like the look of the Las Vegas Strip Circuit, adding: ‘99% show and 1% sporting event.
‘There’s not many corners to be honest… I don’t know. It also will depend a bit probably on how grippy it is. Doesn’t look like it has a lot of grip, but we’ll go with the flow.
‘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.
‘When you have low grip that doesn’t help. The scenery will look great, driving through the strip, but the layout itself is not the most exciting. Driving an F1 car is a lot more fun with a lot of high-speed corners, but around here there is not many high-speed corners.’
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