F1: Verstappen unimpressed with excess and opulence of Las Vegas Grand Prix
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Las Vegas Grand Prix is an absolute spectacle of neon extravagance and Max Verstappen has absolutely no interest in the excess and opulence weaved into Formula One’s first visit to Sin City in 41 years.
The reigning three-time Formula One champion called Saturday night’s race “99% show, and 1% sporting event” while complaining he felt like “a clown” standing on the stage during Wednesday night’s opening ceremony that featured multiple musical acts.
The driver expected to win his 18th win of the season — sixth in a row — then skipped a VIP party at The Wynn in which F1 president Stefano Domenicali asked all drivers to attend.
“I just like to always focus on the performance side of things. I don’t like all the things around it, anyway. I know, of course, in some places they are part of it, but let’s say it’s not in my interest,” the Red Bull driver said. “I’m looking forward to try to do the best I can, but I’m not looking forward to (the show).”
Verstappen, who won his third consecutive title in early October with six races remaining in the season, is one of the few drivers aggravated by the $500 million spectacle concocted by F1 and its owner, Liberty Media, in F1’s first attempt to promote its own grand prix.
F1 is determined for the race down the Las Vegas Strip to be a success and has invested heavily into what it hopes is a long-term destination for the global series on its annual calendar. The entire buildup to Saturday night is filled with expensive fan experiences — both at the track and in the casinos and restaurants — and celebrities should be arriving anytime before Thursday night’s first two practice sessions.
The Las Vegas Grand Prix is the third F1 stop this year in the United States, more than any other country, and seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton argued the market demand is strong enough to sustain the series and make Saturday night a success.
LAS VEGAS GRAND PRIX
-The return of Formula 1 to Las Vegas will mark thelatest step in the city’s evolution.
-Here is how the first training session in Las Vegas strip went by.
-What else is lined up for and who will be arriving to Las Vegas this weekend? See here.