Max Verstappen is not looking forward to the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
The 2023 Formula 1 champion said as much Wednesday night in his pre-race media availability. Verstappen said the track down the strip was “not very interesting” while also saying that the inaugural event was “99% show and 1% sport.”
The 17-turn track includes part of Las Vegas Boulevard and is scheduled to begin at 1 a.m. ET so that it’ll be run at night in Las Vegas to show off the glitz of the Las Vegas Strip while those in Europe are awake on Sunday morning.
When asked if he was looking forward to the race, Verstappen answered with a “no” and explained why. Via Reuters:
“I think it is 99% show, 1% sport,” said Verstappen. “They (Formula One) still make money if I like it or not so it is not up to me.
“But I’m not going to fake it. I always voice my opinion in positive things, in negative things, that’s just how I am.
“It’s not really my thing.”
“Some people like a show, I don’t like it at all.”
Verstappen is racing at Las Vegas to add to his record of F1 dominance in 2023. The three-time champion has already set the single-season mark for most wins and best winning percentage in a season and can put those records further out of reach over the final two races of the season.
While Verstappen was non-plussed about the Las Vegas race weekend, other drivers were much more upbeat. Lewis Hamilton said he was excited about the event.
“It’s amazing to be here. I think it was something we spoke of, dreaming of having a race here, many years ago,” Hamilton said at a news conference Wednesday night. “And it’s very surreal to be here and it’s exciting. You know, it’s such an incredible place, so many lights. It’s a great energy. Great buzz.”
This weekend’s race is not the first time F1 has raced in Las Vegas. The series held races in 1981 and 1982 on a temporary track. The Caesars Palace Grand Prix was located where the Mirage and Forum shops are currently.
This go-round, Formula 1 and Las Vegas have a 10-year agreement.
“Every time we came here in the past, I think for everybody, was on holidays, and just to enjoy the city,” Fernando Alonso said. “And now we are here for racing. And things become a little bit more professional and serious tomorrow. But, at the same time, we want to have some fun this weekend.”