Vegas a popular addition to F1 calendar

An artist’s impression of F1 on the streets of Las Vegas

The prospect of Las Vegas returning to the Formula 1 schedule after more than four decades is an exciting one for the sport’s current crop of drivers.

Announced late last month, F1 will race on a street circuit that incorporates part of the famous Strip when it visits Sin City next November.

It will be the third event in the United States after the US Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas and the Miami Grand Prix, the inaugural running of which takes place next month.

Formula 1 has previously visited Las Vegas on two occasions, both times competing around an uninspiring circuit laid out in the car park of the Caesars Palace casino.

This time around, the circuit has been specifically designed to show off the Nevada city’s highlights, with racing set to take place on Saturday night with the lights of The Strip on full display.

“There are some positives bringing Formula 1 to new countries and discovering these new races,” said Fernando Alonso.

“I think that Vegas, for example, is going to be very exciting.”

George Russell noted: “It’s incredible to see the space Formula 1 is in at the moment, and the excitement around the sport.

“I think it’s brilliant for all the teams, all the drivers, and I guess it’s putting Formula 1 in a luxury position that we can almost cherry pick the races we want to go to.

“Whether in the future there’ll be sort of rotations of races, I think that’s a really great idea.

“Vegas is just going to be mental for everybody there, and just good for the sport,” he added.

“A lot of people in paddock are happy it’s a Saturday night race.”

Sergio Perez is enthusiastic for the race for two reasons.

Las Vegas is a comparatively easy journey from his native Mexico, suggesting he’ll have plenty of support, while also signalling the growth F1 is enjoying.

“It’s great to see how the sport is growing so much in the states in North America,” he said.

“I think Vegas is going to be a fantastic opportunity for the sport and for the fans to really see the cars.

“I just think it’s a great combination, F1 with Vegas, it’s fantastic.”

The race features a rather unique promotional model, with Formula 1 itself effectively taking on that role.

Traditionally, the sport’s commercial rights holder have sold off rights to host an event, typically worth in the region of $50 million annually, though that fluctuates from event to event.

That sum, combined with income from trackside advertising, some hospitality packages, television rights, and others, forms the bulk of Formula One Group’s income.

By taking on the event promoter role, through sister-Liberty Media brand Live Nation, the sport is effectively using the event as a marketing vessel.

A successful race in Las Vegas will likely still result in a loss for Formula 1, but in doing so the intent will be to solidify the supporter base that has grown over the past two years in the world’s largest economy.

It will also be looking to expand on that with the event likely set to become one to become one of the sport’s flagships, arguably stepping into the role Monaco has played in Europe and Singapore in Asia.

“It’s amazing, that the relationship that we have now, three races on one continent, I think that’s going to be awesome,” suggested Lewis Hamilton.

“I think it’d be good for the business.

“Vegas will be awesome addition. I’ve not seen the track layout, so I don’t really know how that will be, but just being there and the spectacle, I imagine it will be a night race, we love it.”

For the moment, Vegas can to an extent be considered a direct replacement for the now cancelled Russian Grand Prix.

A precise date for the inaugural event has not been set beyond November 2023.

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