‘It’s a sad state’: Max Verstappen criticised for admitting F1 focus

Max Verstappen has indicated that he has no interest in competing in the Indy 500.

Andretti IndyCar driver Alex Rossi has rejected Max Verstappen’s concerns about the Indy 500 being too dangerous.

Graham Hill is the only driver to complete the unofficial Triple Crown of motorsport by winning the Formula 1 title as well as the Monaco Grand Prix, the 24 Hours of Le Mans which takes place this weekend, and the Indy 500, which was won by Marcus Ericsson this year on the same day that Sergio Perez took victory in Monaco.

Verstappen recently indicated that he would not want to participate in the Indy, describing those who do as “crazy” due to the dangers attached to it, but he would like to have a crack at an overall victory in Le Mans.

Rossi, who has won six races in the American series and so nearly beat Scott Dixon to the title in 2018, points to Mick Schumacher’s scary crash in Monaco to highlight that the Indy is not all that much more dangerous than what Verstappen already does in F1.

“In a sense, it’s more dangerous maybe, but we had four crashes and we didn’t have any cars splitting in half,” he told Sky Sports. 

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“You can’t say that about the Monaco Grand Prix, right? I think the safety argument is kind of a cop-out.”

Rossi finished second in the GP2 – now Formula 2 – championship in 2015, and also raced five times for the struggling Manor Marussia team to replace Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens.

The American, who contested Le Mans in 2013 and sits second in the IMSA championship this year, knows what it is like for F1 to engulf a driver’s life.

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Having left his ambitions to race in the pinnacle of motorsport behind, he encourages drivers like Verstappen to get involved in other series and the iconic races that come with them.

“I was that guy as well,” explained Rossi. 

“I think, when you are on a trajectory for Formula 1 and your entire world revolves around F1, it’s a sad state in the sense that other racing really doesn’t exist to you.

“It’s such a single-track focus you have in order to get there. I was the same way – I knew what the Indy 500 was but I didn’t ever really pay attention to it. 

“But then, when you come and you have the opportunity to do it, it truly is an incredibly special event. 

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“Not only in motorsports but just globally, like it’s the largest single-day sporting event on Earth, right? So to have the opportunity to compete in that…”

Verstappen currently leads the F1 championship by nine points from Charles Leclerc, while Rossi is seventh in IndyCar after narrowly missing out on victory in Detroit to Will Power.