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Verstappen Disapproves of F1 Las Vegas GP Extravaganza

As the curtain rises on Formula 1’s Las Vegas Grand Prix, reigning champion Max Verstappen adopts a critical stance, denouncing the spectacle as a mere “99% show” during the inaugural ceremonies on Wednesday.

Critical Assessment

The evening unfolded with a star-studded concert featuring Keith Urban, Journey, Kylie Minogue, and 30 Seconds To Mars, accompanied by a dazzling drone display and fireworks cascading from the summits of the Strip’s towering hotels. Despite the inclement weather and a less-than-full grandstand opposite the pits, the 30-minute grid show unfolded against the backdrop of the night sky.

Verstappen, the F1 World Champion, delivered a scathing assessment, asserting, “99% show, and 1% sporting event.” He expressed a clear preference for focusing on performance rather than the extraneous elements surrounding the race. The Dutch driver further disparaged the Las Vegas Strip Circuit layout as “not very interesting,” standing firm in his critique.

“I’m also not going to fake it; I just always voice my opinion on positive things and negative things,” Verstappen remarked. “That’s just how I am. Some people like the show a bit more; I don’t like it at all.”

He conceded to enjoying the atmosphere in Vegas but expressed reservations about the racing aspect. Verstappen mused on the possibility of embracing a more show-centric direction but questioned its sustainability with the fans.

The driver introductions on Wednesday evening drew a candid comment from Verstappen, humorously remarking, “looking like a clown.” McLaren’s Lando Norris acknowledged the shift towards a more extravagant show, acknowledging the necessities of their job in a business-oriented environment.

Haas’ Kevin Magnussen noted the Formula 1’s divergence into uncharted territory, feeling somewhat out of place but accepting the evolving landscape.

Mixed Driver Reactions

While some drivers echoed Verstappen’s sentiment, expressing reservations about the evolving nature of F1 events, others reveled in the spectacle. Daniel Ricciardo professed his admiration for Vegas, expressing excitement about the unique track features, especially the DRS straight.

Fernando Alonso supported the idea of additional shows for unique events like Las Vegas, emphasizing the significance of the investment made in such locations.

Lewis Hamilton described the event as surreal and exciting, remarking on the vibrant energy and dreamlike atmosphere.

Sphere’s Unique Challenge

The futuristic Sphere structure became a focal point of discussion, adorned with 1.2 million LED pucks. The unique challenge emerged as the Sphere’s display had to be tailored during on-track activities to avoid distracting drivers, omitting certain colors for safety reasons.

As teams unveiled special livery designs for the Las Vegas showcase, Red Bull took the spotlight with an extravagant display at the Omnia nightclub, setting the tone for a visually spectacular weekend.

The opening practice sessions are scheduled for Thursday night, commencing at 10:30 p.m. local time (1:30 a.m. ET).”

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