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Low Temperatures Forecasted for the Las Vegas Grand Prix: What You Need to Know

Written by Jenny Clynes, Edited by Mara Simion


The 2023 season has seen a mass of iconic Formula One records being broken. However, one of the longest standing records in Formula One may be about to be broken at the all new Las Vegas Grand Prix. The coldest ever Formula One Grand Prix was recorded back in 1978, but with Las Vegas forecasting a temperature range of 5-10 degrees celsius, the weekend may rival previous cold Grands Prix.

Credit - Formula One

The coldest Formula One Grand Prix ever recorded was the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix which took place in Montreal on the 8th of October. The temperature throughout the day peaked to lows of just 5 degrees

Celsius.


The chilly October afternoon proved to be historic for both Gilles Villeneuve and the Canadian fans as the driver took his first ever win in front of his home crowd. The podium, however, was an unusual sight as, instead of the drivers accepting their trophies in their race suits in an attempt to cool down, the three were seen wearing layers and even winter coats because of the freezing conditions.


Will the winners of the Las Vegas Grand Prix repeat this unusual look at the weekend? If so, this would be a stark contrast to the last Grand Prix held in Nevada, when after the 1981 Caesar’s Palace Grand Prix, many drivers suffered from heat exhaustion.

Credit - Motorsport Images

Despite Las Vegas being stereotypically seen as an extremely hot destination, in November the average low for the city stands at just 8 degrees celsius. These low late autumn temperatures mixed with a late night race could result in both this new record being set.


The cold temperatures not only causes viewer discomfort on the metal grandstands for the people who have paid thousands of dollars to watch the race, but the temperatures also cause a range of both practical and technical issues for the teams.


Formula One tyres are designed to provide the best possible grip at extremely high temperatures, therefore the grip of these tyres excel on a hot track, and so cold temperatures will result in much lower grip.


To combat this, drivers will push the tyres harder by forcing them through high speed corners to generate more stress to warm the tyres up. However, the circuit of Las Vegas does not have many of these vital high speed corners. Instead, the street circuit is most prominently characterised by three long straights where the drivers will lose the all important tyre temperatures rapidly resulting in a mass of potential slides, slips and even collisions with the tight nearby walls.


Pirelli are attempting to put in as many measures as possible to help with the potential issues that the cold temperatures will inflict upon the tyres. High pressure jets will be used in order to increase the abrasivity and therefore improve grip levels. They have also asked the teams to provide them with the simulator data much further in advance than what they would usually ask (2 weeks before the race).


But for Las Vegas, they have been gathering the statistics for around 5 weeks to try to predict how the tyres will react. However, there is still no telling how the tyres will act in the cold conditions until the cars get out onto the track.


Pierelli will also be bringing their softest tyre compounds in order to help the tyres gain a desired temperature quicker. However, there are various rumours circulating that the cars may have to do one more lap than usual to get their tyre temperatures up to standard in qualifying.

Pirelli will bring the softest tyres in the range to Las Vegas; Credit - Formula One

To make matters even more complicated, this will be the first cold race since the new Pirelli tyre specifications which were introduced in 2022. This means that the tyres are bigger in diameter, making the response to cold conditions even more unpredictable for the Vegas Grand Prix.


Aside from the cold conditions affecting the tyres, they will also affect the drivers. They will have to adjust their body temperatures for a completely new extreme, with some drivers even considering using gloves and hand warmers throughout the weekend, according to Lando Norris.


The ever controversial 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix appears to be the gift that keeps on giving in terms of practical and technical challenges, and this predicted cold temperature will no doubt add an interesting element to such a highly anticipated penultimate race of the 2023 Formula One season.


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