F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix: A chance at redemption for Sin City

It failed once before, but can Vegas host the most spectacular race in Formula 1?

The weekend of the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix is finally here. Months of build-up have seemingly led to this, the city in the desert's second attempt at hosting the pinnacle of motorsport.

It has been pushed to be the biggest spectacle in F1, an event you won’t want to miss (despite being on REALLY early in the morning for us in the UK).

Found out the important information about the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, including its history, the dates and timings, the track layout and the issues that have arisen with the race.

History of the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix

This won’t be the first time that Formula 1 has gone racing in Las Vegas. They previously raced in the city back in the 1980s - in fact, the circuit wasn’t that far from where part of the current one is.

That’s because the original Las Vegas Grand Prix circuit was in a car park.

Yep. No mistake there. The first time Formula 1 came to Las Vegas, it was named the Ceasars Palace Grand Prix because the circuit was built in the car park of the Ceasars Palace Hotel and Casino, one of Vegas’ best landmarks.

It was not a spectacle in the slightest. The circuit was terrible and the fact they held it during the day in the scorching desert heat made the race unbearable for the drivers.

It was also a financial disaster and the attendance was poor. So naturally, they ran the race again the next year. The first race was in 1981 and 1982 was the last season that Formula 1 would race in Las Vegas until 2023.

When is the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix 2023?

So Formula 1 is back in the Entertainment Capital of the World, this time with newfound popularity in the United States (although that hasn’t exactly helped ticket sales) and a new, somewhat improved track layout.

The race is happening this weekend, and since it’s Las Vegas, things are going to be done a bit differently.

The Grand Prix will be held at night, which isn’t unusual since other street races such as Singapore and Saudi Arabia do that. Only, lights out for the race will be at 10pm local time. 

Oh, and it will be on a Saturday, making it the first Grand Prix to be held on a Saturday since the 1985 South African Grand Prix (although it won’t be Saturday for anyone east of New York).

Here are the full dates and times of the events in UK time (brace yourself):

Friday 17th November

  • Free Practice 1 – 4:30am - 5:30am
  • Free Practice 2 – 8:00am - 9:00am

Saturday 18th November

  • Free Practice 3 – 4:30am - 5:30am
  • Qualifying – 8:00am – 9:00am

Sunday 19th November

  • Grand Prix – 6:00am

F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix circuit layout

A layout of the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix circuit.

Thankfully, the race will not be held in a car park, although one may argue that the alternative is still not a whole lot better.

After much deliberation and multiple different conceptions for the circuit layout, what they have landed on now is a 6.2km (3.1 mi) street circuit that runs past some of Vegas’ most iconic landmarks and down the famous Las Vegas Strip.

It features 14 corners and a 1.9km (1.2 mi) back straight that may see the cars reach speeds of up to 212mph.

The style and speed of the circuit has brought comparisons to that of Monza, with the Italian circuit also being a fast track. Whether it will be as iconic as the Temple of Speed is yet to be seen.

F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix: What to expect

It’s hard to predict what to expect from the race without having seen a single car on it yet. One thing we know is that it will be bright. Like, really bright.

It will be visually stunning, with the newly opened MSG Sphere providing the most fascinating sight. Rather funnily with that one though, they have banned the colours blue, yellow and red as they may cause confusion for the drivers.

You may think it’s a smart idea of the organisers to host the race later in the night so that the race isn’t too hot like the 1981 and 82 GPs. 

But actually, what they forgot is that in the desert, it gets really cold at night. So cold in fact that the track temperature is predicted to be as low as four degrees celsius, which would be the lowest track temperature ever raced on in Formula 1.

This will lead to the tyres on the cars not heating up quickly enough and thus a loss of traction. Essentially, the track will basically be like an ice rink for the cars.

The championships may already be wrapped up but it could still be an exciting race. It may be an early one to tune in for, but it might just be worth it.

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