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Formula 1 Las Vegas GP

Las Vegas Grand Prix weather forecast - how cold will it be for the F1 race

Teams are anticipating colder temperatures at this weekend's Las Vegas Grand Prix as drivers participate in late-night racing.

Atmosphere Las Vegas boulevard

The Las Vegas Grand Prix is just days away and many are anticipating a race unlike anything else on this year’s F1 calendar. The weekend event is a unique point of 2023 with the event taking place between Thursday and Saturday instead of the usual Friday to Sunday format. 

Drivers will be taking to the street circuit late into the night so that the true bright lights of the city can be enjoyed by spectators. The street race will test drivers and their teams with unusually cold conditions expected to impact the cars.  

In previous years, races on the iconic strip had resulted in drivers complaining about the high temperatures. The last time Formula 1 took to the streets of Vegas was in 1982, but the Caesars Palace Grand Prix was heavily criticised for the flat track and higher temperatures which reached highs of 37.1ºC (99.8 Fahrenheit.) 

The race took place at the end of September and the heat combined with the track conditions from the abrasive asphalt of the hotel car park, meant that the drivers were struggling to get grip from their tyres. The heat also affected the drivers with many suffering from neck pain and extreme exhaustion at the end of the 75-lap race. 

Brabham's Nelson Piquet vomited in his helmet during the grand prix and had to be lifted out of his car following the chequered flag.  

Ross Brawn, a former Formula One managing director, has admitted that the series had not considered the low temperatures in Las Vegas when assigning the track a spot on the calendar. Many are concerned about how the lower temperatures will impact the car’s performance and safety on the track. 

Atmosphere Las Vegas boulevard

Photo by: Erik Junius

Atmosphere Las Vegas boulevard

What is the weather forecast for the Las Vegas Grand Prix

Thursday 16 November 

Thursday will see a clear but potentially slightly windy FP1, with a chance of rain coming in towards the end of FP2. Temperatures for the race are set to reach around 13ºC (55 Fahrenheit) with lows of 8ºC (46 Fahrenheit), with a 20% chance of rain.  

Friday 17 November 

Friday should also see temperatures of around 13ºC (55 Fahrenheit) with potential lows of 9ºC (48 Fahrenheit) for FP3 and Qualifying. Rain is due in the early afternoon and into the evening but should clear up before the start of Qualifying. There is a 40% chance of rain on Friday. 

Saturday 18 November 

The chance of rain significantly reduces ahead of the race with light rain forecast until the early afternoon, which should clear before night time. Highest temperatures at night could reach 13ºC (55 Fahrenheit), with lows of 7ºC (44 Fahrenheit).  

How could the colder weather impact the F1?

The colder weather could greatly impact the performance of the three Pirelli compounds but cold temperatures could have an impact on the car overall. Colder track surfaces could mean that tyres take longer to warm up and require more energy from the cars to get going, this could result in them losing pressure faster and needing more pitstops during the race. 

Colder tyres could also result in a lack of grip for the drivers meaning they will have to fight their cars to remain on the tracks. Long straights will cool the tyres and brakes and with only a few high-speed corners, which are usually where heat is generated, drivers will struggle to build up heat quickly. 

The track has recently been resurfaced and will be open to regular Las Vegas traffic between the sessions to avoid city-wide traffic issues, however, this will prevent the surface of the track from ‘rubbering-in’. This term is used to describe how tyre debris from previous sessions creates a high-grip layer on the track before the race, giving the drivers better grip. 

Colder temperatures will also impact the cars’ carbon brake discs which usually run between 500ºC and 600ºC but can reach over 1000ºC in areas with heavier braking. If the discs get too cold, their ability to work correctly could be significantly reduced, meaning cars could take longer to brake.  

If the brakes are too cold, drivers could face locking up and running wide which could result in some possible yellow flags or collisions.  

Las Vegas board

Photo by: Erik Junius

Las Vegas board

Could this be the coldest F1 race ever?

The desert can get extremely cold in the middle of the night and if the track drops below 5ºC over the weekend, it could make for the coldest race in F1 history. The slight chance of rain could also reduce track temperatures, making for an interesting race. 

The coldest F1 race in history was the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix where temperatures in the air reached 5ºC in Montreal. The race was held in early October and those standing on the podium were wrapped in winter jackets as snow began to fall.

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