Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has praised Max Verstappen’s “refreshing honesty” in voicing his concerns over the course of the Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend.
Verstappen had been a staunch critic of the focus organisers had placed on the off-track entertainment, including a Wednesday opening ceremony in front of 30,000 fans.
The Dutchman was not enthused by the prospect of racing in Sin City, stating that the grand prix felt “99% show, 1% sporting event”, adding he wouldn’t “fake” enthusiasm either.
The three-time champion justified his issues with the event in the post-qualifying press conference saying: “When I was a little kid, it was about the emotion of the sport, what I fell in love with and not the show of the sport.
“I think it’s more important that you actually make them understand what we do as a sport because most of them just come to have a party, drink, see a DJ play or a performance act.
“I can do that all over the world. I can go to Ibiza and get completely s***faced and have a good time. But that’s what happens and actually people… they come and they become fan of what?
“As a little kid, we grew up wanting to be a World Champion. If the sport put more focus on to these kinds of things and also explain more what the team is doing, try to see them, what they are achieving, what they’re working for… These kinds of things I find way more important to look at than just having all these random shows all over the place.”
Despite his hesitancy over the additional pomp and show of the weekend, the Red Bull driver donned Elvis Presley-inspired overalls the grand prix before performing a rendition of Viva Las Vegas upon claiming his 18th win of the season.
“I thought it was a great Grand Prix and I think Max would have thoroughly enjoyed that race because that’s what he loves and that’s what he’s here for,” the Red Bull boss said.
“The fact he won it in an Elvis Presley suit and was singing Viva Las Vegas on an in-lap whilst, you know, you have to respect that it doesn’t sit comfortably with him, some of the razzmatazz that goes around Formula One, and it’s quite refreshing that he’s actually prepared to speak. He’s given his honest opinion
“I think he also reflects that it’s an important event for Formula One and I think the race and the way it delivered today is something that you could certainly see he enjoyed.
“We showed him that weeks ago [Elvis overalls]. So it was something that he was aware of and bought into. And so to have both of our Elvis’s on the podium, you know, was a great result.”