F1 WORLD CHAMPION Max Verstappen has been accused of making a ‘cop-out’ argument following his comments on Indycar.
A career in motorsport inevitably comes with heightened risk to one’s health, but Alexander Rossi has suggested Max Verstappen’s IndyCar safety fears are “a cop-out.” That’s after Red Bull superstar Verstappen recently said he has no interest attempting to win the Indianapolis 500 in pursuit of motorsport’s ‘Triple Crown’.
Graham Hill is the only driver recognised as having officially completed the Triple Crown to date. The two-time Formula 1 world champion won the Monaco Grand Prix on five occasions, also winning the Indy 500 in 1966 before finally completing the set with victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans six years later.
F1 titleholder Verstappen is one third of the way to that feat having triumphed in Monte Carlo for the first time last year. But a transition to compete in the crown jewel of IndyCar doesn’t interest the Dutchman, who has said he ‘doesn’t need to risk his life.’
“In a sense, it’s more dangerous maybe, but we had four crashes and we didn’t have any cars splitting in half,” said Rossi on Sky F1’s Any Driven Monday show. “You can’t say that about the Monaco Grand Prix, right? I think the safety argument is kind of a cop-out.”
Rossi, 30, once drove in F1 but moved to the United States after the Manor team dissolved in 2015. He finished as runner-up in the 2018 IndyCar Series and won the famed Indy 500 in his 2016 debut.
Fernando Alonso has won each of the Monaco GP and 24 Hours of Le Mans on two occasions, needing only a win in Indiana to join Hill’s exclusive club. Former F1 star Juan Pablo Montoya has taken two Indy 500 titles and the Monaco Grand Prix, but at 46 he has yet to clinch the longer-distance duel of Le Mans.
“I was that guy as well,” added 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. 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…”