Nov.19 (GMM) Max Verstappen revved up his tirade against the glitzy Las Vegas GP as the show-focused event continued.
When asked what he’d like to change about the event for the future, the triple world champion said cynically: “Give me an A4 piece of paper and I’ll write it all down for you.”
Fellow Dutchman and Dutch GP boss Jan Lammers says he understands.
“For the purest like Max who comes purely for the sport, this is a heavy burden,” he told NOS.
But Verstappen, 26, says he is concerned about the direction Formula 1 is speeding in as its American owners Liberty Media double-down in the sport’s new Netflix era.
“The sport is very popular now,” he said, “so they can do whatever they want because people will keep coming anyway.
“But what will it be like in ten or fifteen years?”
Verstappen may be the most outspoken active driver on the topic of the extreme ‘show’ elements in Las Vegas, but F1 legend Alain Prost admits he has similar concerns.
“Formula 1 cannot turn into a pure show,” the quadruple world champion warned to L’Equipe.
But there are those, of course, who cannot understand Verstappen’s criticisms, given that Liberty is only trying to drive up interest in F1.
Max, though, says the strategy risks alienating F1’s real fans.
“I can go to Ibiza and get completely sh*tfaced and have a good time,” he said. “But then people come here for that and they become a fan of what? They don’t actually understand what we’re doing.
“I think if they would invest more time into the actual sport, to make kids grow up wanting to be a world champion, I find that way more important than just having all these random shows all over the place.”
Verstappen also thinks the race organisers disrespected the fans that did come on Thursday by refusing to apologise for the manhole cover calamity – and then giving them a $200 merchandise voucher instead of a refund.
“Fabulous. Then they still make money,” the Red Bull driver scoffed.
“If I was a fan, I’d tear the whole place down. That can’t be right.”
He also slammed the actual Las Vegas track layout, declaring that while Monaco is “Champions League, this is Eredivisie” – the Dutch national league.
“Well, nothing against the Eredivisie,” he smiled. “But of course every footballer wants to win the Champions League.”
When asked about Verstappen’s week-long tirades against the new event, Las Vegas visitors authority CEO Steve Hill said: “Max does seem a little irritated about our race here.
“I don’t know if he’s maybe a little nervous. But it adds spice to the weekend anyway.”
When asked about Hill’s comments, Verstappen hit back: “These people live in their own world.”