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Max Verstappen acknowledges Saudi Arabia debate: 'Sport won't change the world'

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has weighed in on the contentious issue of Saudi Arabia's involvement in global sports events.

The current Formula 1 world champion believes that while sports can promote positive values, they are not the panacea for global issues.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia have emerged as a significant player in international sports, hosting events like the Formula 1 Grand Prix and high-profile boxing matches. However, these ventures have drawn criticism from various quarters, with concerns raised about the country's human rights record and the phenomenon of "sportswashing."

Verstappen, who clinched victories in both the 2022 and 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, expressed his views on the matter, stating, "We are not into politics, that's a whole different story, and I think also it's very important that sport is sport, politics are politics."

The Dutch driver emphasized that while sports can foster positive changes, they cannot single-handedly address complex societal issues. "At the end of the day, every single country has their own flaws, but also positive sides, and we are not going to change the world at the end of the day as a sport," Verstappen remarked.

Acknowledging the cultural exchange facilitated by international sports events, Verstappen highlighted the importance of mutual respect and understanding. "It's great to meet a new culture as well for everyone to get educated on that as well, because everyone is a little bit different around the world wherever you go, and you have to respect that," he stated.

Verstappen's comments come amid ongoing debates regarding the ethical implications of hosting major sporting events in countries with controversial human rights records.

The Formula 1 season resumes with the Australian Grand Prix scheduled for the weekend of 22-24 March. Held at the iconic Albert Park semi-street circuit, the race promises to deliver exhilarating action as drivers tackle the challenges posed by the circuit's bumps and changing grip levels.

While Verstappen's focus remains on the competition, his remarks serve as a reminder of the broader discussions surrounding the intersection of sports and geopolitics.

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