Max Verstappen has stepped up his criticism of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, deriding the circuit as a “National League” compared to the “Champions League” quality of Monaco. The world champion also repeated his complaint that Formula One was focusing too much on presenting a spectacle rather than emphasizing the sport.
In the run-up to the meeting in Las Vegas, the first time F1 has raced here since 1982, Verstappen mocked it as “99% spectacle, 1% sporting event” and after qualifying third behind Charles Leclerc and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz on Saturday, was once again highly critical of the circuit and F1’s efforts to sell its showcase event to the American audience.
When asked how a qualifying lap on the city streets compared to one in Monaco, he delivered a dismissive line. “I think Monaco is like the Champions League, this is the National League,” she said.
F1 is believed to have invested up to $700 million to make this race happen, but Verstappen remained defiant and out of line. He re-emphasised the visceral pleasure he takes in driving classic circuits, but insisted he remained unfazed by F1’s latest and greatest bauble.
“I love Las Vegas, but I don’t drive a Formula One car,” he said. “I love having a few drinks, putting everything red, eating good food, but emotions, passion? It’s just not there compared to some old school tracks. It’s more about the proper race tracks, Spa, Monza. Seeing the fans there is incredible and when I get in the car I get excited and I love driving around these places.”
Verstappen has never been a big fan of most street circuits, but has been particularly critical of this event, where F1 is for the first time organizing and promoting the race and which has been selling the meeting as a showcase for a sport. similar to Super. Bol. He clearly left the Dutchman cold and once again asked questions that will probably not be well received by the F1 management.
“I understand that fans maybe need something to do on the track, but it’s more important to make them understand what we do as a sport,” he said. “Most come simply to have a party, drink or see a performance. I can do that all over the world, I can go to Ibiza and get totally shit 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 friends, they go out and have a crazy night, but they don’t understand what we are doing and what we are risking to perform.”