Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
Formula 1 Las Vegas GP

10 Things To Watch For at Formula 1’s Las Vegas Grand Prix

Formula 1's Las Vegas Grand Prix will be one of the most talked about events of the year, and these are the top ten things you need to watch out for.

Red Bull Las Vegas demo run

1. Keep an eye on the sphere

The newest landmark in Las Vegas – a giant Sphere wrapped in 1.2 million LED lights – has only just been opened and the F1 track goes right around it, between turns 5 and 10. The 100-metre-high structure is a massive canvas for over-the-top art and has already morphed into a giant basketball, a blinking eye and a detailed map of the surface of the moon, to name a few. F1 is taking it over for the whole weekend, so keep an eye out for morphing driver helmets and plenty of other animations.

2. Superstar spectacular

If you think the grid in Monaco gets packed with famous faces, wait until the ‘great and the good’ flood the track ahead of the Las Vegas race. David Beckham and Shaquille O'Neal are certain to be there, as they are hosting a hospitality party at the track, while some of F1’s other big event regulars include Tom Holland, Orlando Bloom, David Harbour, Kylie Minogue, Michael Douglas and Neymar, among many. Getty Images said it photographed more than 1,000 ‘celebrities’ at Monaco this year, so for Las Vegas you had better get a list of ‘Who’s Who in Showbiz’ and play a game of Celebrity Grid Bingo!

3. Night vision

This is the first night race held in the US and being on the West Coast of the country makes the timing schedule for F1 fans around the world (and even in the US itself) pretty unique – and, to be frank, fairly inconvenient! The race will start at 10pm local time, so those on the US East Coast will have to wake up or stay up to watch it at 1am, while viewers in the UK will be setting their alarms early on Sunday morning for a 6am start and Europeans will be tuning in at 7am. For those in Australia, though, it will be a rare overseas F1 race that will be shown at a sensible time of the day!

Las Vegas track action

Las Vegas track action

Photo by: Liberty Media

4. So good they came back thrice

America has gone crazy for F1 – and this is the third race held in the country this year. It feels a world away from 2005, when there were half-filled grandstands at Indianapolis and the series was humiliated by the infamous tyre and team orders debacle. At that point, having been trying to gain popularity in the States for decades, there were questions whether it would even continue and, sure enough, in 2008 the US was off the calendar. But how things have changed. Austin drew F1 back in 2012 and now thanks to Drive to Survive – and the fact F1 now has US owners! – Miami and Las Vegas have been added to the calendar.

5. Lively liveries

The F1 teams love a special livery to celebrate a special race. Red Bull is one that will definitely be sporting a new look around the streets of Las Vegas, after unveiling a shortlist of three designs created by its fans. These include unique sidepod artwork, with the options of a neon landscape of city landmarks, glowing lines and playing cards or a splattering of fireworks. They will surely not be the only team to brush up their look and Williams and McLaren are likely candidates, having each delivered some eye-catching alternative liveries this year. Expect specially designed driver helmets too – although these will only be revealed on the eve of the event. In Miami, more than half the field sported a special liveried lid, so there should be plenty of different designs to look out for.

6. Rocking the city

This weekend is likely to see some of the most spectacular F1 concerts of all time, with the LED-driven visual spectacle of the massive Sphere serving as the backdrop to the stage. Uptown Funk will surely feature as Mark Ronson performs a DJ set on Thursday, while Grammy-nominated Major Lazer is performing on Friday and best-selling Latin singer J Balvin will complete the line-up, finishing just a short time before the lights go out to start the race itself. Some of Las Vegas’ own resident performers will also be in action too, with the Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil both performing during the race weekend.

Red Bull Las Vegas demo run

Red Bull Las Vegas demo run

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

7. Saturday night’s alright for racing

This is one fact about the Las Vegas you need to REALLY remember – F1 is racing in Las Vegas on a Saturday, so if you plan to tune in on Sunday you will have missed it all! The last time F1 did that was in 1985, for the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami, where the race was won by Briton Nigel Mansell in a Williams-Honda while several teams boycotted the event due to apartheid. The move to Saturday has set a trend – and next year’s races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will also run a day earlier than normal, fitting into the region’s standard Friday-Saturday weekend.

8. A half-billion-dollar paddock

Believe it or not, the newly built paddock building for the Las Vegas Grand Prix – which is owned by F1 itself and has a giant F1 logo on its roof – cost a whopping $500m. That makes the $43.6m Silverstone spent on its ‘Wing’ complex just over 10 years ago sound like a bargain! Around half of the cost was the 39-acre site itself, while the rest covered an immense and rapid building programme that, according to reports, saw more than 400 construction workers completing 20-hour shifts to get it done. The 300,000 square foot permanent building has four levels and will become F1’s new US headquarters after the race, and there are also rumours of plans to set up a racing school in the building.

9. A street track where low downforce will be king

Ok, now that’s enough about the glitz and glamour, let’s talk about the racing. There were 31 different layout variations before the final version of the track was chosen. Although there are two ‘stadium’ complexes in the first part of the lap – the East Harmon Zone (Turns 1 to 4 and Turn 17), and the Sphere (Turns 5-9) – both have relatively flowing corners and the rest of the lap comprises three straight or sweeping curved sections separated by a few 90-degree corners. The 2km Strip straight is 12-15m wide, giving plenty of room for side-by-side action, and the 90-degree Turn 14 at its end should offer the best overtaking chances, although whether this runs true remains to be seen. Teams will need a low downforce set-up similar to Monza or Spa – and this year, erm, both of those races saw Red Bull finish 1-2…

Las Vegas GP pit complex

Las Vegas GP pit complex

Photo by: Las Vegas GP

10. F1 will be flying

Do not be fooled by the fact this is a street circuit – because it certainly does not have the feel of one. In fact, it could end up being one of the fastest races on the calendar. This is no Monaco, with tight twisty streets; remember, the US does not do ‘small’ and much of the 6.12km track is run on wide highway roads. The entire circuit has also been re-paved, so it should be as smooth as a billiard table making it more like a racetrack than a road. Rumour has it, its average speed could come close to Monza, the fastest of them all.

One more…. Spiderpig or Yogi Bear?

Ok, we couldn’t resist adding an 11th to this list. Take a look at the outline of the circuit and compare it to Homer Simpson holding up ‘Spiderpig’ on the ceiling in one of the iconic US comedy show’s most memorable scenes. An uncanny resemblance! Equally, spin the orientation of the map by 90 degrees anti-clockwise to reveal its real north/south orientation, and it looks very much like another American icon, Yogi Bear, sitting with his feet creating the first corner! Once you have seen it, you will never unsee it!

Las Vegas track map

Las Vegas track map

Photo by: Liberty Media

Win tickets

Does all this sound amazing? Is a race in Las Vegas the stuff of your dreams? If so, go to dreams.moneygram.com for the chance to make them come true in MoneyGram’s Vegas Dream Weekend giveaway with MoneyGram Haas F1 Team.

The prize, valued at around $48,000, includes two Paddock Club tickets in the MoneyGram Haas F1 Team Suite, airfare and hotel accommodations, team apparel, $5,000 cash, and more.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Open 12:01 AM (CT) September 16, 2023 thru 11:59 PM (CT) October 28, 2023, to U.S. permanent legal residents of the 50 states and D.C.; who are 21 years or older. Drawing on October 31, 2023 by 5:00 PM (CT). See Official Rules at dreams.moneygram.com.

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article F1 tyre saving: What is it, how is it done and why do drivers do it?
Next article Tsunoda seeks to improve “emotion control” working with Ricciardo in F1

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe