Max Verstappen has intensified his criticism of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, deriding the circuit as a “national league” compared to Monaco’s “Champions League” quality. The world champion also repeated his complaint that Formula 1 was too focused on putting on a show rather than on the sport.
In the run-up to the meeting in Las Vegas, the first time Formula 1 has raced here since 1982, Verstappen mocked it as “99% show, 1% sporting event” and after qualifying third behind Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz on Saturday, he was once again highly critical of the circuit and Formula 1’s efforts to sell their showcase event to the American public.
When asked how the city’s street qualifying session compared to the one in Monaco, he issued one dismissive line. “I think Monaco is like the Champions League, this is the national league,” he said.
F1 is believed to have invested up to $700 million to make this race happen but Verstappen has stayed away from the message. He once again stressed the profound pleasure he gets from driving classic circuits but insisted he was not influenced by Formula 1’s newest, most glamorous adornments.
“I love Vegas but I don’t drive a Formula 1 car,” he said. “I love having a few drinks, throwing everything red, eating some delicious food, but the feelings and the emotion? It’s not there compared to some of the old school tracks. It’s more about the proper race tracks, Spa, Monza. Seeing the fans there is unbelievable, and when I jump In the car I feel excited and I love driving in these places.
Verstappen has never been a big fan of most street circuits but was particularly critical of this event, where Formula 1 had for the first time become a race organizer and promoter who was promoting the meeting as a showcase for the sport similar to Super. Dish. That clearly left the Dutchman cold and once again raised potentially nasty questions with Formula 1 management.
“I understand that the fans might need to do something around the track, but the most important thing is to make them understand what we do as a sport,” he said. “Most of them just come to have a party, drink or see a show. I can do it all over the world, I can do it in Ibiza and have complete rudeness and have a good time.”
“But that’s what happens, people come and become fans of what? They come to see their favorite artist and have a few drinks with their mates, go out and have a crazy night out, but they don’t understand what we do and what we put on the line to perform.
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