Capitalize on the success of the Netflix hit Drive to survivewhich brought a new demographic to the series, F1’s American owner, Liberty Media, wanted to exploit its new popularity in the United States and add to the existing racing in Austin.

The first stop was a race in Miami, the perfect example of the kind of “destination cities” F1 wanted to establish itself in.

While the spectacle of the race at Miami Gardens was hardly unforgettable in 2022, the 2023 race provided a better spectacle to follow the off-track glitz and glamor that entertained hordes of celebrities and VIPs.

Running around the Miami Dolphins stadium was one step toward conquering the United States, but F1’s move to Las Vegas is a whole different ball game.

Vegas was a dream target for Liberty Media, as it took the unprecedented step of promoting the race itself and purchasing land near the famous Strip to build a permanent stand and paddock.

F1 is estimated to have spent over half a billion dollars on the event, which it plans to run until at least 2032, demonstrating how F1 believes the event will work in the long term.

The hype he generated has surpassed that around Miami and there is certainly some justification for that.

F1 managed to have its 6.2 km (3.8 mi) city course include a 2 km section of the Strip, which the city council agreed to close for racing.

Las Vegas GP rendering

Photo by: Las Vegas GP

Las Vegas GP rendering

While the layout itself isn’t the most inspiring and probably wouldn’t turn heads elsewhere, the sight of 20 F1 cars racing along the Bellagio, MGM Grand and the new MSG Sphere at night is going to provide F1 dazzling images.

It’s certainly a far cry from the winding Caesars Palace parking lot used in the 1980s. And whatever happens to the race, getting there is a remarkable achievement for F1 and a sign of its pulling power in 2023.

The county itself is also counting on the success of its “billion dollar” event to justify the $40 million in public money spent to repave the Gaza Strip and appease local residents who were caught off guard by prolonged disruptions in recent months.

But the F1 Superbowl also comes at a price for fans. A big.

When sales opened, general admission tickets cost US$500 (including food and drinks), while single-day grandstand tickets for Sunday ranged from $1,155 to $1,760, and Weekend tickets were closer to $3,000. This is in addition to booking a hotel room near the circuit, the prices of which have fortunately fallen in recent weeks.

The cheapest tickets cost $165. For Wednesday’s opening ceremony which features many artists but no cars.

It shows that the event itself, in America’s sports and entertainment capital, is not aimed at traditional F1 fans watching on TV, a divide that was already evident from Miami’s inflated prices.

Speaking of television, ironically, the local race start at 10 p.m. and qualifying session at midnight, while acceptable to European and Asian audiences, will be the most difficult for the majority of the American population, who live on the east coast three hours early.

But for Americans who want to experience F1 first-hand, it’s cheaper to fly to a race in Europe rather than sit in the cold, as temperatures of 8°C or 45°F are expected at this time. period of the year.

With the Vegas race happening a week later in 2024, one has to wonder how many people just wanted to be there and be seen for its inaugural race and how many will actually return next year at current prices.

It’s quite possible if they’re seeing an incredible show, because with inflated prices come inflated expectations.

When it comes to on-track action, cold doesn’t have to be exclusively negative. If there’s one thing the 2023 season, which many fans believe has started to overstay its welcome, can benefit from, it’s a pinch of chaos to raise the stakes.

Las Vegas GP rendering

Photo by: Las Vegas GP

Las Vegas GP rendering

Fortunately, F1’s dreaded track limits won’t pose much of a problem on the tight course, as any evacuation would have extended to the lobby of a swanky casino.

But heating up the tires in icy conditions might just throw a curveball.

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Present a simple race and Red Bull is likely to blitz it. The cold, combined with unknowns like the state of the tarmac, will give new headaches to teams who could disrupt the order, much like the dominant force of 2023 was humiliated in Singapore.

Additionally, there are no support series on the schedule, so grip levels on the all-new Strip tarmac will already be very low, and we will see a massive evolution of the track throughout the weekend. end.

F1 would certainly benefit from an all-action return to Vegas, as Max Verstappen’s stunning dominance in 2023 has seen interest cool and national TV audiences fall, so ensuring its US boom continues will at least as difficult as creating it in the first place.

It is therefore understandable that F1 and its stakeholders are sparing no effort to expand Vegas, even beyond the level of Miami.

But the more you advertise an event, the more likely it is that it won’t meet your expectations.

At least Miami had the mirage of a championship battle, but with both titles long since decided, it will really need to achieve more than pretty pictures and first-class hospitality to justify the buzz.

Las Vegas GP rendering

Photo by: Las Vegas GP

Las Vegas GP rendering

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