by Ria Arora
Las Vegas is set to feature again on the calendar in 2023 with Formula 1 inking a deal for a Grand Prix in Sin City. This means that the United States will now play host to three races – with the Miami Grand Prix set to debut later this year and the Circuit of the Americas being a long-standing part of F1. The race will take place under the lights on a Saturday in November (the last time a race took place on a Saturday was in 1985 with the South African Grand Prix held in Kyalami)
It is slated to be 6.1 kilometers long and cars are expected to reach speeds upwards of 300 kmph. The race will feature 50 laps with 14 corners and 3 straights and will feature the notorious Las Vegas Strip.
While rumors persisted well into the 2000s, it would take the “Entertainment Capital of the World” 40 long years to make a triumphant comeback. Amidst an environment of neon lights and debauchery, it seems apt to state that the prodigal has indeed returned – surrounded by the world’s finest resorts and casinos.
While what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas: the city has a penchant for leaving a permanent mark on racing history. The last time it hosted an F1 race was on September 25, 1982, when future LeMans and Sebring winner, Michele Alboreto, achieved his maiden Formula 1 victory on a Tyrrell-Ford in the sweltering Nevadan heat. This date also marks the first and only Drivers’ Championship win of the “Flying Finn” Keke Rosberg who clinched the fifth position in a Williams. Additionally, Ferrari also waltzed its way to yet another Constructors’ Championship as the Scuderia secured its 7th title.
As to what the paddock thought about this development: the drivers could not hide their elation when they were privy to the news.
Last season’s winner, Max Verstappen (Red Bull) quipped about the need for having a 2-week break before and after the race, no doubt cheekily commenting on the hedonism associated with the city. Four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel remarked on how the drivers might have some extra motivation to win to earn what they lost gambling!
Regardless of the outcome, the race promises to be a breathtaking experience. We are currently two races in, and the competition has been pretty tense. Red Bull seems to have an answer to a redoubtable Ferrari and the midfield promises to be equally – if not more – exciting.
2023 can only be better and the neon lights of Fabulous Las Vegas are a welcome addition to the calendar.