Max Verstappen admits he is not a fan of IndyCar’s oval racing due to the risk involved in the high-speed events.
The Red Bull driver, who is currently leading the 2021 Formula 1 championship by six points over Lewis Hamilton, states he is a big fan of watching the North-American series.
This year’s 16-race IndyCar schedule featured four oval races, including the famed Indianapolis 500.
Speaking to NBC Sports, Verstappen says the high-risk involved in oval racing is not appealing to him, asserting he is content with sticking in F1.
“I love to watch [IndyCar]” Verstappen said. “It’s of course a little bit different to F1, but I think that’s also nice and makes it very interesting to watch.
“And from my side, I’m of course happy to be in Formula 1, because I’m not personally a big fan of ovals.
“The street tracks and road courses are good, but nah, I would not be a big fan of oval racing myself. It’s just the risk of a big crash is big.
“Of course I know in Formula 1 there also is risk of an impact, but when you hit a certain wall with 200-plus mph, it’s not enjoyable.
“And that risk is higher in IndyCar, and especially if you would hit someone else and you go into the fence, there are plenty of examples where it doesn’t end well or you end up being really hurt.
“So for me, I love to watch it. I have a lot of respect for the drivers who do it, but I’m happy where I am.”
In recent years, there has been an increase in European drivers switching to the category, with long-time F1 racer Romain Grosjean signing with Andretti Autosport for 2022 after his rookie campaign this past season.
Formula 2’s Christian Lundgaard will also race full-time in the series next year, as will 2020 F2 runner-up Callum Ilott, while Nico Hulkenberg will test for Arrow McLaren SP next week.
With opportunities limited in F1, Verstappen expressed that it is no surprise certain drivers are directing their attention to IndyCar.
“Some fully commit to being successful in America like Rinus [VeeKay] did, for example,” Verstappen said. “He just said, ‘OK, I’m going to focus on America, and I’m going to try to make it there.’ Because IndyCar is, of course, the F1 of America.
“So, it’s also a bit of having the opportunity sometimes to be in Formula 1 or not when there is not the right seat for you. IndyCar is a great alternative to go to because the level is super high. They race great tracks. They have great teams.
“So when you get an opportunity to drive for example in IndyCar over Formula E, I can fully understand because the speeds are higher, and it’s a proper race car.
“And I think that’s why some guys also who are in Formula 2, but they don’t see a direct path to Formula 1, they go to IndyCar.”