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Michele Alboreto, Tyrrell 011-Ford, leads Mauro Baldi, Arrows A4-Ford
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Formula 1 Spanish GP
Special feature

How Vegas went from byword for F1 indifference to grand Liberty coup

Holding a race in Las Vegas – party central, a city of dreams and decadence and, yes, more than a smattering of tackiness – has been on Liberty Media’s most-wanted list since it acquired Formula 1’s commercial rights. But, as LUKE SMITH explains, F1 has been here before and the relationship didn’t work out

“I told myself I’d never come back…”

Dr Stuart Price makes no secret of his unease returning to Las Vegas in The Hangover 3. And rightly so. In the first edition of the comedy film trilogy, he had removed one of his own teeth for a bet, got married to a stripper and stole a tiger from Mike Tyson – all in one night in Vegas.

Formula 1’s sojourn in Sin City in 1981 and 1982 may have lacked such fictional chaos, yet it also came away with a sour taste. The grand prix in the car park of the Caesars Palace casino proved so uninspiring it became the standard against which all bad race events since have been measured. Though both events were title deciders, the desert’s extreme heat and the indifference of the American audience sapped the drivers’ energy levels and enthusiasm, and F1 called it quits.

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