The winter break is already in sight with two races to go, but first the most striking destination of the year is on the program, with a street race along the many tourist attractions in Las Vegas. Journalist Lawrence Barretto takes an extensive look ahead at the newest circuit on the calendar.
In 1981 and 1982, racing was also held in Las Vegas on a upgraded parking lot, but in 2023 the sport is taking it a lot more seriously. Formula 1 itself invested heavily in Las Vegas by paying no less than 500 million dollars for a piece of land on which the pit complex was built, and so Formula 1 itself benefits considerably from the event being a great success.
Show element will be central
Before the weekend starts, the Netflix Cup will take place, a golf tournament that can be seen live on Netflix, in which Formula 1 drivers Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly, and Alexander Albon will also be present. Next up, several world-famous artists will perform at a concert on Wednesday, including J Balvin, Swedish House Mafia, Thirty Seconds to Mars, and Will.i.am, better known for The Black Eyed Peas. The Formula 1 drivers will also be used as circus horses. “All twenty drivers will be present, while the Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil will perform,” journalist Lawrence Barretto shared on Formula1.com.
Attention shifts to racing
After this American show, the action on the asphalt will start. “The seventeen-turn circuit was adjusted more than thirty times before the final configuration was determined,” says Barretto. ‘With a length of 6.1 kilometers, it is the longest circuit on the calendar after Spa-Francorchamps and the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.’ There are a number of long straights, especially in the second half of the lap, especially on the Las Vegas Strip.
“The simulations predict fifty laps of adrenaline and high-speed action,” Barretto said. ‘The circuit runs counter-clockwise, with drivers reaching top speeds of 342 kilometers per hour, and an average speed of 237 kilometers per hour. This makes it one of the fastest races on the calendar, and the teams will run with little downforce, just like in Monza and Spa.’
This street circuit will therefore not resemble the race in Monaco at all. ‘It is quite wide for a street circuit, ranging from twelve to fifteen meters. In theory, the drivers should be able to drive side by side more easily than in Monaco. There are few elevation changes, except for a two percent slope at turn fourteen and a 3.5 percent drop at the pit entrance. In addition, it is striking that the start-finish straight is a gentle bend,” Barretto adds.