Fans have long joked that Formula 1 rolling into town is like a circus, with trucks, a mass of people, and throngs of media descending on race locations around the world. This weekend’s race in Las Vegas is poised to become one of the sport’s flashiest events ever, but the reigning world driver’s champion is less than enthused about the spectacle.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen expressed disdain for the show, saying it was “99 percent show and 1 percent sporting event.” Kylie Minogue, John Legend, and a host of pyrotechnics kicked off the weekend on Wednesday night, but Verstappen was unimpressed. “For me, you can skip this. It’s not about the singers. We are just standing up there, looking like a clown.” He also skipped a party at the Wynn Casino held by Formula 1’s CEO, Stefano Domemicali, due to having “zero interest.”
It would be easy to poo-poo Max for being a spoiled F1 champion, but he’s far from alone in taking a skeptical view of the event. His sentiments have been widely echoed by fans and Las Vegas locals, who are not entirely on board with the massive construction and disruptions that have occurred to accommodate the course. At the same time, the track design has taken heat for looking like an upside-down pig, being compared to Spider-Pig from “The Simpsons Movie” years ago.
The Las Vegas GP will be F1’s first event organized and promoted by the sport’s owner, Liberty Media. The American company has significantly benefited from F1’s rise thanks to TV shows and media attention. Though the initial hype was over-the-top, with ticket and hotel room prices climbing deep into the thousands of dollars, the event now looks to have plenty of available seats for the weekend. If you were hoping to get in on the late-night action – the race is at 1 a.m. EST on Sunday – it could be an excellent time to scoop a cheap ticket and hotel room if you can get a last-minute flight.