Verstappen ‘still happy’ to tolerate F1 ‘show’

Tue, 12 December 2023, 06:00

Dec.12 (GMM) Max Verstappen insists he is “still happy” to be a Formula 1 driver, even though his patience seemed to be wearing thin at the tail-end of 2023.

On paper and on the track, the Red Bull driver utterly dominated the sport this year, easily cruising to his third consecutive drivers’ title.

But at Las Vegas in particular, Verstappen seemed to lose his cool with the overt ‘show’ aspects of the event, warning that a further escalation in the years to come could see him decide to retire after his 2028 contract expires.

The 26-year-old admits he’s not even a fan of street circuits.

“Personally, I’d ideally like to race on all the great tracks in the world,” Verstappen is quoted as saying by Kronen Zeitung newspaper.

“But unfortunately that is not possible in Formula 1 – and I understand that too,” said the Dutchman.

But it’s the ramping up of the artificial ‘show’-elements of events like Las Vegas that Verstappen has a bigger problem with.

“A little bit of show is important,” he admits. “But I love emotions. When I was a little kid, it was the emotions that made me fall in love with sport, not the show around them.

“For a real racer, the show shouldn’t matter.”

After Las Vegas, where he ramped up his criticisms of Formula 1 to fever pitch, Max’s father Jos said he had spoken to his son about moderating some of his opinions.

Max now says: “I understand that the fans also need to be entertained. But it’s also important that we show them what our sport really is about.

“Because so many people are only coming now because they want to have a party or see a DJ.”

However, he smiled when he admitted that he’s prepared to tolerate the show versus sport ratio – for now.

“At the moment I’m still happy, let’s put it that way,” said Verstappen.

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