Verstappen loves IndyCar, but no fan of ovals


Max Verstappen says he loves to watch IndyCar on TV, but the Dutchman rules out racing in the US series in the future because of its "risky" ovals.

Over the years, several European F1 drivers have headed west to take part in America's premier single-seater championship, with various degrees of success.

Former Haas charger Romain Grosjean is the latest F1 driver to cross the Atlantic in search of a second career in IndyCar, and Nico Hulkenberg will enjoy his test debut in the series next week with Arrow McLaren SP, while Alpine junior Christian Lundgaard has just signed up for a full campaign in the US with Rahal Letterman Lanigan.

Verstappen says he's keeping an eye on the IndyCar scene, but only for entertainment purposes.


"I love to watch. It's of course a little bit different to F1, but I think that's also nice and makes it very interesting to watch," the Red Bull driver told NBC Sports.

"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."

Verstappen isn't oblivious of the risks associated with Formula 1, but believes that racing at 200 mph on ovals is tempting fate.

"It's just the risk of a big crash is big," said the 17-time Grand Prix winner.

"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.

"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.

"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."

Nevertheless, the 24-year-old says IndyCar is a good destination for drivers who reach a dead end in F1 or for young guns who are starved of an opportunity to make it into the big time.

"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."

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