Written by Poppy Evans, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri
With billboards counting down the exact days to the race weekend, and even an exclusive launch party, Las Vegas is fast approaching! But what's all this excitement for? What's propelling Vegas into a league of its own, compared to the other circuits on the 2023 calendar? Well, strap in, join us on exploring the thrills of the new Las Vegas circuit like never before.
First up, the bubbling hype for this exhilarating race explodes from the fact that it's a brand new street circuit. Believed to be known as ‘Sin City’, due to the well known block 16 (an area in the early development of Las Vegas).
This is said to have been the only place legally able to tolerate illegal activities. The last time Formula One came to the ‘City that never sleeps’ was 1982, the debut race a year earlier, in 1981. Yes, it only stayed for two years! This time round, it's anticipated to be one of the coldest races, perhaps even THE coldest race on record!
Winding in and out of historic landmarks, turns five to nine provide great views of ‘The Sphere’ - a 110m tall giant golf ball covered in 1.2 million LED screens. (Perfect for the upcoming Netflix Cup which will see the likes of Lando Norris, Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz play a 8 hole match of golf paired with PGA golfers Rickie Fowler, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas and Max Homa at the Wynn golf course in Las Vegas.)
A brand new four-level permanent pit building has been crafted, equal to the length of 3 American sized football stadiums — the longest of all the circuits! On top of this building, you will be able to find a 28,000 square feet video screen, distinctly shaped like the F1 logo! Not to mention the drivers’ racing side-by-side with the most famous hotels of Las Vegas, along one of the most famous stretches of road too, the famous ‘Las Vegas Strip’.
Over 30 design iterations later, the Las Vegas circuit was created, allowing us to expect a fantastic 50 laps of racing, covering a whopping total of 310.05km, which translates into 6.201km each lap.
This is the third-longest race on the F1 calendar, with 17 turns and 2 DRS zones. Teams are likely to be opting for a Monza-like setup, as the low downforce packages will come in handy in helping the drivers to reach top speeds in the ballpark of 342km/h, alongside some Las Vegas-special painted kerbs. To add to this, new car liveries will be taking to the stage.
Now, although we are visiting a never seen before circuit, Las Vegas has seen Formula One before, the Caesars Palace hotel having played host to both the 1981 and 1982 season finales. Believe it or not, this circuit was built in the car park of, you guessed it — Caesars Palace.
Both Nelson Piquet and Kete Rosberg proudly grasped the 1981 and 1982 titles, finishing fifth at the Las Vegas Grand Prix in consecutive years.
The 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix is set to be the latest race start in F1 history, beginning as late as 10pm in the night, to cater to audiences from Europe and Asia.
Unusually — for the first time since 1985 — the Grand Prix will be taking place on Saturday 18th November, rather than the historic Sunday race. This is in an aim to try and gain more TV viewers and spectators, before they can head off into the Entertainment Capital of the World, in the evening.
To mark this said-to-be-a-spectacular race weekend, Wednesday will see a 30-minute opening ceremony. This will include all 20 drivers making an appearance, entertainment from artists such as Will.i.am, Andra Day, Bishop Briggs, and a sky lit by over 1000 drones. Not to mention 100 LED flags waving, and 30,000 members of the crowd wearing 'PixMob' bracelets.
With lots of hype around the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, it’s certainly looking to be an unforgettable race, right from the build up, expected until the end of the race weekend. So, buckle up, and get ready for what will be a hectic weekend, from start to finish!
In contrast, there is also some controversy surrounding this race, with many fans not being keen on the spectacle. So what’s your opinion? Is there a way to compromise this new setup with the fans, and the city that never sleeps?