Formula 1 went in Las Vegas and it was a party. And if you don’t think so you don’t know a steering wheel from a checkered flag.
F1 race cars screaming down the Las Vegas Strip, showgirls and showtime and all the glitz that this suggests. It all added the sin in Sin City.
The race was the weekend of Nov. 16-18 with the track going alongside the Bellagio Fountain and will looop around the MSG Sphere. The pits and paddock were just off East Harmon Ave. The 3.8-mile 14-turn track included 1.2 miles along the Strip.
Oh, and was run on a Saturday night. Is that Vegas or what!?
Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton said it’s “going to be a pretty hardcore event” and that proved to be the case.
Oh yes there were issues. Car racing folks call these “teething problems.” A water srinkler was not properly secured just 10 minutes into the first practice session, causing a delay so long people were sent home because the security detail’s alloted time expired. Many locals felt left out and incovienced. And click bait negative media stories far outpaced the positive.
Still, the show was good. The winner was Max Verstappen, the 2023 F1 champion.
“The fans were good; I hope they had a good time,” he said. “We sure did and look forward to coming back next year.”
— PubClub (@pubclub) November 19, 2023
This was a collaboration between Live Nation Entertainment and the and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as well as Founding Partners Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International, and Wynn Las Vegas and Presenting Partners MSG Sphere, Resorts World Las Vegas and The Venetian Resort.
F1 and Liberty Media worked together to promote the race.
Because this was Sin City, there were be all kinds of F1-type of activities all weekend, including concerts and posh parties as Las Vegas bars and nightclubs. Here’s a few that took place during the week.
“Iconic Las Vegas and Formula 1, the pinnacle of motorsport, is the perfect marriage of speed and glamour,” Liberty Media President and CEO Greg Maffei said at the announcement press conference. “Our confidence in this unique opportunity is evident in our decision to assume the promoter role for the Las Vegas Grand Prix in partnership with Live Nation.
“We could not be more excited to work with our local partners to create a marquee event. The potential of Formula 1 has been well demonstrated over the last several seasons and the Las Vegas GP will only take it to the next level.”
This was actually the second open-wheel street race in Vegas. Back in 1981 and 1982, IndyCar staged races that went around the Caesar Palace fountains (the same ones which Evel Knievel jumped in his motorcycle, landed awkwardly and broke almost every bone in his body).
Longtime IndyCar veterans still talk about how great that race and setting was to this day. So imagine F1 in a modern-day Vegas.
Tickets were not cheap and neither were hotel rooms. Prices were $300 and more to get in and $500 or more for accommodations on and near the Strip. But that’s F1 and this is Vegas, baby.
It was the third F1 race in the USA, the other two being in Austin (Texas) and Miami.
And, as auto racing historians know, F1 was the original series in the early days of the Long Beach Grand Prix until it was decided that it was too expensive so organizers changed it to an IndyCar race, which it is today.
To be technically correct, the first Long Beach Grand Prix was an F3000 event, which was required b F1 to test the feasibility of holding a race on the city streets of Long Beach, CA. It passed the test and became an F1 race the next year.