Along with the drone display and musical performances, the event included a section during which drivers emerged from giant boxes right in the pit area and were introduced to the crowd.
Verstappen, who also chose to miss a later VIP event at the Wynn Hotel complex which F1 boss Stefano Domenicali has asked all drivers to attend, made clear he was not enjoying the Las Vegas experience just yet.
“For me you can all skip these things,” the Red Bull driver said when asked about the ceremony. “It’s not about the singer, it’s about standing there, looking like a clown.”
When asked how much of a weekend in Las Vegas is a show, he said: “99% a show, 1% a sporting event.”
“Honestly, there’s not a lot of emotions,” the three-time world champion continued. “I just always like to focus on the performance side of things.”
“I don’t like all the things surrounding it, anyway. I know, of course, in some places it’s a part of it, but let’s just say that’s not in my best interest.”
As a result, Verstappen has indicated he is not looking forward to the event, the first to be held in Las Vegas since the Caesars Palace Grand Prix in 1982 on a new inner-city street circuit.
“No, I’m looking forward to trying my best, but I’m not looking forward to that [the show],” He said.
Verstappen admitted Liberty Media is keen to make an impact in Las Vegas and “completely understands” its desire to maximize the exposure element.
“You can look at it from two sides, the business side or the sporting side, so of course I understand their side of it as well, but I’m just expressing my opinion on the performance side of things,” he said.
“We are not stakeholders [shareholders]So we just go with it. I mean they decide what they do, right?
“If I were the owner, I would do the same thing. I wouldn’t listen to the drivers. It’s my sport. I can do what I want with it if that’s the case.”
Photography: Simon Galloway / Motorsport pictures
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing
When asked if he thought expressing his opinion would make a difference, he downplayed the suggestion.
“It’s also not my goal to make a huge difference,” he said. “But when you ask me a question and I feel like answering it, I will answer it in an honest way.”
He added: “If someone really wants to go in that direction, you want more shows tied to that type of programming, I think we have to deal with that.
“But as long as everything goes well of course, they can also say that everything is going well. But yeah, let’s see how long the fans will like this too.”
“I’m just driving where I have to drive. I mean, you can still express your opinion about things. As for the rest of you, just take the weekend off, and move on to the next week.”
Pressed on the importance of his opinion to Formula 1 and Liberty, Verstappen downplayed the potential impact.
“Well, I don’t know. I mean, I guess they’re still making money whether I like it or not, so it’s not up to me,” he said.
“But you know, I’m also not going to fake it, I’ve always expressed my opinion on positive things and negative things.
“And that’s how I am. And some people like the show a little bit more.”
“I don’t like it at all, I just grew up looking at the performance side of things, and that’s the way I see it too. So for me, I like being in Vegas, but not so much for racing.”
Verstappen also made it clear that he is not a huge fan of the design of the Las Vegas circuit.
“Yes, not very interesting,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com. “There’s not a lot of turns, to be honest.
“I don’t know. I mean it would also probably depend on how much grip he has. He doesn’t seem to have much control but yeah, we’ll just go with the flow.”
“I don’t think it’s exciting, that’s the only thing.
“But it’s normal for me that the street circuit is not very exciting, especially with these new cars.
“It’s too heavy. Also especially when you have a low grip, it doesn’t help.”
“Of course it will be great to drive across the sector, but the design itself is not the most exciting, I think.
“A Formula 1 car is more fun with a lot of high-speed corners.”
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