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Max Verstappen caused a social media story by criticising Las Vegas GP – do you agree with his comments?

By Tom Gibson | November 21, 2023

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The now three-time world champion has proven to be somewhat of a Marmite character but his latest comments seemed to generate support.

Max Verstappen caused a social media story by criticising Las Vegas GP – do you agree with his comments?

“I love Vegas but not to drive in a Formula One car. I love to have a few drinks, throw everything on red, have some nice food but emotions, passion? It’s not there compared to some old-school tracks. It’s more about the proper race tracks, Spa, Monza. Seeing the fans there is incredible and when I jump in the car I am fired up and I love driving around these places.

“I understand fans need maybe something to do around a track but it is more important to make them understand what we do as a sport. Most come to just have a party, drink, see a performance act. I can do that all over the world, I can do Ibiza and get completely shit-faced and have a good time.

“But that’s what happens, people come and they become a fan of what? They come to see their favourite artist and have a few drinks with their mates, go out and have a crazy night out but they don’t understand what we are doing and what we are putting on the line to perform.”Those are comments from Max Verstappen before the Dutch champion drove impressively on his way to record-extending 18th win of the season and his sixth in a row.

Verstappen is a divisive character who is obviously adored by fans of his own and those of Red Bull, while those who align themselves more closely with Mercedes, McLaren or Ferrari are usually a little annoyed by his aggression and the seemingly preferential treatment he gets from stewards and race direction.

But for many hardened F1 fans it was great and absolutely refreshing to see someone with a voice saying what they’re all thinking.

The success of F1 off the back of its Netflix deal means it’s virtually impossible to criticise Liberty Media and F1 boss Stefano Domenicali. Fans have grown in tremendous volume and it seems the much sought after market of the USA is finally being cracked.

But at what cost?

For many of us, including for this writer, F1 is at its undeniable best when lighter cars are driving around proper tracks.

We’ve lost the likes of Hockenheim, Nurburgring, Sepang, Magny-Cours, Paul-Ricard, Istanbul, Algarve International and many more in the last decade alone. These tracks will always generate far better entertainment than the likes of the Miami Street Circuit and the painful spectacle that is the Singapore GP.

Monaco has its history and heritage but it usually serves up a pretty shocking race unless the weather helps it out but despite this trend that street circuits typically rarely deliver the desire to bring more street tracks to the calendar at the expense of true circuits is only growing.

Social media mentions of F1 were down 70.2% compared to 2022, with new followers down 46.29% and social reach down 64.10%.But it’s not just the tracks and the tedious ‘Americanisation’ of the show that seems to be turning numbers away – it’s the forever changing nature of the cars that makes it difficult to serve up a two team battle at the top.

2021 was one of the best years we’ve had in F1 in ages. Two top teams and two top drivers racing for the championships.

But just as the cars were racing closely together and almost matched on pace new rules came in that – ironically – were meant to bring better racing.

We’ve seen nothing other than a Red Bull dance off into the distance but this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

After virtually every big shift of the rules we seem to see one team get it right and the rest lag behind.

Brawn in 2009 – which became Red Bull in the 2010s once the double diffuser was banned. Mercedes in 2014 and again in 2017, and now Red Bull from 2022.

What we need instead, is an end to constant change in regulation so teams have longer period of time to stick to broadly similar rules. Huge structural resets clearly create huge disparities in performance and that means we rarely enjoy a season where two teams battle together at the top. In fact, we’ve seen that just three times in the last 14 years.

What are your thoughts on F1 and what do you think needs to change, if anything?

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