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Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen speaks to the press after the opening ceremony for the Las Vegas Grand Prix on Wednesday. Image Credit: AFP

Las Vegas: Formula One world champion Max Verstappen has blasted this weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix as “99 per cent show” and says he isn’t looking forward to the race.

The Red Bull three-time world champion criticised the new street course and said Wednesday he had no interest in the razzmatazz around the event.

“It’s 99 per cent show and one per cent sporting event,” said the Dutchman, when asked to evaluate the return of the sport to Vegas after a 41-year absence.

“Not a lot of emotions to be honest. I mean I don’t like ... I just want to always focus on the performance side of things, I don’t like all the things around it anyway,” he said.

“I know of course there are some places that you know (it is) part of it, but let’s say it’s not my interest,” he added.

Asked for his opinion on the street track, which will take the drivers down the famous Vegas ‘strip’, Verstappen was blunt.

“Yeah, not very interesting ... it’s just not many corners to be honest,” he said.

Opening ceremony

After taking part in the opening ceremony, which featured a drone show and music, the 26-year-old said he wouldn’t be attending Wednesday night’s party.

When he was asked if he would at least be looking forward to Sunday’s race, Verstappen’s lack of enthusiasm was again evident.

“No. No, but I’m looking forward to trying to do the best I can, but I’m not looking forward to this,” he said, pointing to the hospitality areas above the paddock.

Verstappen said he hadn’t talked to the F1 organisers about his views but said he doubted his views would have an impact on them.

“I don’t know. I guess they still make money if I like it or not, so it’s not up to me. But I’m also not going to fake it,” he said.

“I just always voice my opinion in positive things and negative things, and that’s just how I am. Some people like a show a bit more, I don’t like it at all,” he said.

“I grew up just looking at the performance side of things, and that’s how I see it as well. So for me, I like to be in Vegas, but not so much for racing,” he added.

Commercial interests

But Verstappen said that he did understand that F1’s owners Liberty Media, who are also promoters of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, had their own commercial interests.

“I fully understand and you know, you can look at it two ways — business side or sports side. So, I, of course, understand their side of it as well,” he said.

“But I’m just voicing my opinion on the performance side of things,” he said.