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Can Las Vegas Produce a Good Race?

Written by Benjamin Crundwell, Edited by Mara Simion

Las Vegas has faced a lot of criticism from F1 fans since the race was announced. While it promises to be a good show, the question remains whether or not the track will prove to be suitable for a Grand Prix.

Credit - FormulaRapida

There is no doubt that the cars will look stunning as they navigate through the city's famous landmarks, but to get a judgment, we must take it out of context and look purely at the race track. Turn one is a sharp left hander, and flows into a medium speed right hander which leads onto the second straight.

Turn six was initially a Sochi style flat-out long right hander, but a slow chicane has been placed in the middle. An F1 car won’t notice turns ten or eleven, but car placement in the latter will be crucial to get a good line in turn twelve, because otherwise losses will be made all the way down the 1.9km straight.

Finally, the last real corners include a heavy braking zone and a left-right-left chicane, taking the cars back onto the pit straight.

As for overtaking, the opportunities will be turn one, five and fourteen, we will definitely see a few lunges. The majority of overtakes will be “DRS overtakes” down the 1.9km straight, providing little challenge to the drivers.

On the bright side, following this, is another straight, and two corners before a third one, so anyone making an overtake on the first of these straights will be vulnerable for the following half a lap, hopefully provoking a temporary scuffle. So the track may produce good racing when the cars are close on track, but will they actually be close together?

Field spread isn’t uncommon in Formula One, and we often see moments in the race where there are no cars within a second of each other. It is likely that Vegas could be another race full of moments like this because it is usually caused by slow corners, which Las Vegas is full of.

Credit - Las Vegas GP official website

The other element to a good race is strategy. The teams will be given the C3, 4 and 5’s, the softest compounds available, meaning there is a possible two-stop, and with cold temperatures causing even more degradation, some teams might try a three-stop.

Despite this, the track includes only ten corners that the cars will notice, and it is just a 50 lap race, the second least amount of laps in any Grand Prix in 2023, after Jeddah. So while tyre degradation might be bad, the race might not be long enough not to affect anybody.

The location partially makes up for the horrible track design, but it could certainly be improved, if turn five was not changed to encompass a chicane it would have potential to be one of the best corners on the calendar.

Outside of this, there are no corners that look extraordinary or overly challenging, there are multiple awkward medium speed corners, and the track has very little flow.

As for the racing, it will be partially down to luck, if the cars can follow close enough, then there may be a few exciting battles, but if not then it is likely going to be another boring procession. Fingers crossed our doubts are proven wrong!


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