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Max Verstappen unimpressed with excess and opulence of Las Vegas Grand Prix

by Ethan Kim
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Las Vegas Grand Prix Critique

Max Verstappen expresses his disapproval of the excessive and opulent nature of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, which has returned to the Formula One calendar after a 41-year hiatus. The reigning three-time Formula One champion appears unimpressed with the extravagant spectacle and entertainment factor that has been incorporated into the event, describing it as “99% show, and 1% sporting event.”

Verstappen’s sentiments were evident during the opening ceremony, where he felt out of place, likening himself to “a clown” amidst the multiple musical acts. Despite being expected to secure his 18th win of the season, he chose to skip a VIP party hosted by F1 president Stefano Domenicali, emphasizing his preference for focusing solely on performance rather than the surrounding extravagance.

The Las Vegas Grand Prix represents Formula One’s ambitious attempt to promote its own grand prix in a city known for its excesses. The event has been surrounded by costly fan experiences both at the track and in the city’s casinos and restaurants. Despite the concerns expressed by Verstappen, other drivers like Lewis Hamilton believe in the potential success of the race, highlighting the strong market demand in the United States.

Hamilton acknowledges the significance of Las Vegas as an iconic city and believes that over time, the local community may develop an affinity for the sport. He also defends F1 and Liberty Media’s direction, emphasizing the positive impact the sport can have on communities and particularly on children.

Verstappen, while understanding the business aspect of F1’s expansion, reiterates his preference for a greater focus on the sport itself. He acknowledges that as drivers, they are not stakeholders in the decisions made by F1 and must adapt to the evolving direction of the sport.

Despite initial concerns, ticket prices and interest in the Las Vegas Grand Prix have seen a last-minute surge, indicating a growing appeal for the event. It is currently the most expensive race on the 2023 calendar.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff acknowledges the challenges of the race but appreciates the attempt to establish F1 in Las Vegas, hoping that the event becomes a fixture among the city’s annual highlights.

As for the championship battle, Hamilton’s chances of catching Sergio Perez for second place in the final drivers’ standings seem slim, given the points gap and the dominance of Verstappen. The team is instead focused on maintaining its position in the constructors’ championship.

The demanding schedule and late-night racing in Las Vegas have taken a toll on drivers, with some describing it as jet lag. The final stretch of the season includes a race in Abu Dhabi, further complicating the travel and time zone adjustments for the drivers.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that the LED Sphere will not be dimmed while drivers are on track, but specific colors have been avoided to prevent distractions. Verstappen, in particular, expresses concern about projected driver images, fearing it might distract him during the race.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Las Vegas Grand Prix Critique

What is Max Verstappen’s opinion about the Las Vegas Grand Prix?

Max Verstappen is critical of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, expressing his disapproval of the excessive opulence and entertainment focus, stating that it feels like “99% show, and 1% sporting event.”

How did Max Verstappen feel during the opening ceremony of the Las Vegas Grand Prix?

During the opening ceremony, Max Verstappen admitted that he felt out of place, describing his experience as feeling like “a clown” among the multiple musical acts.

What is Lewis Hamilton’s perspective on the Las Vegas Grand Prix?

Lewis Hamilton believes in the potential success of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, citing strong market demand in the United States and the appeal of the iconic city. He also defends Formula One and Liberty Media’s direction, emphasizing the positive impact on communities.

How does Max Verstappen view the balance between business and sport in Formula One?

Max Verstappen acknowledges the business aspect of Formula One’s expansion but expresses his preference for a greater focus on the sport itself. He recognizes that as drivers, they are not stakeholders in the decisions made by F1 and must adapt to the evolving direction of the sport.

What is the status of ticket prices and interest in the Las Vegas Grand Prix?

Ticket prices for the Las Vegas Grand Prix had initially decreased, but there has been a last-minute uptick in interest, with some brokers reporting increased demand. It is currently the most expensive race on the 2023 Formula One calendar.

How is the demanding schedule affecting Formula One drivers?

The final stretch of the Formula One season, including the Las Vegas Grand Prix and the subsequent race in Abu Dhabi, has resulted in a grueling schedule for the drivers. Some have described feeling like they’ve been jet-lagged due to the late-night racing in Las Vegas and the frequent travel.

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