The Las Vegas Grand Prix hosted a lavish opening ceremony on Wednesday night to introduce the drivers to the fans, and Max Verstappen would rather have skipped it.
Returning to Sin City for the first time since 1982, Formula 1 and the race organisers are pulling out all the stops to ensure this weekend’s event is a spectacle from start to finish.
Wednesday’s show featured the likes of Kylie Minogue, will.i.am and Thirty Seconds to Mars, and included a performance from Cirque du Soleil.
‘We are just standing up there, looking like a clown’
As for the drivers, they were introduced to a light show.
Verstappen wasn’t at all impressed.
“For me, you can skip this,” said the reigning World Champion. “We are just standing up there, looking like a clown. I mean, yeah…”
Asked if he’d take his complaints to Formula 1’s bosses, he said as per ESPN: “I don’t know, I guess they still make money if I like it or not, so it’s not up to me!
“But I’m also not going to fake it, I just always voice my opinion on positive things and negative things. That’s just how I am.
“Some people like the show a bit more, I don’t like it at all. I grew up just looking at the performance side of things and that’s how I see it as well. So for me, I like to be in Vegas, but not so much for racing.
“We are not a stakeholder, so we just go with it. They decide what they do, right?
“I would do the same if I was the owner, I wouldn’t listen to the drivers. It’s my sport, I would do with it what I want if that would be the case.”
But it’s not just the opening ceremony that Verstappen is worried about, he’s also not sure about what racing the Las Vegas Grand Prix will produce, or not produce.
Although set out as a 17-corner track with an almost 2km straight down the Strip, Verstappen says it is not “that exciting”.
“There’s not many corners to be honest… I don’t know,” he said. “It also will depend a bit probably on how grippy it is. Doesn’t look like it has a lot of grip, but we’ll go with the flow.
“I don’t think it’s that exciting, that’s the only thing. I think already for me a street circuit is not that exciting, especially with these new cars, they are just too heavy.
“When you have low grip that doesn’t help. The scenery will look great, driving through the Strip, but the layout itself is not the most exciting.
“Driving an F1 car is a lot more fun with a lot of high-speed corners, but around here there is not many high-speed corners.”