Why Is The Las Vegas GP On A Saturday?

Why Is The Las Vegas GP On A Saturday
Why Is The Las Vegas GP On A Saturday

The Las Vegas GP has generated significant buzz throughout the Formula 1 racing community, as it prepares to host its first race in 2023. With a distinct departure from the norm, Formula 1 has chosen to hold this event on a Saturday night, instead of following the traditional Sunday format. This move raises the question – why is the Las Vegas GP on a Saturday?

Stefano Domenicali, Formula 1 CEO, sheds light on the reasoning behind this unorthodox scheduling choice, sharing that the Saturday night 10 pm PT race slot is considered the “perfect time” for the event. Taking into account the spectacle offered by the glittering Las Vegas Strip and the time differences between various global audiences, the decision aims to appease fans on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

While the Las Vegas GP marks the first Saturday race since South Africa in 1985, the move embraces the vibrant and unique atmosphere of the city. As the third United States Grand Prix event in 2023, a Saturday night race showcases the excitement of Formula 1 racing against the backdrop of neon lights and bustling Las Vegas nightlife. It will undoubtedly create a truly unforgettable experience for both the drivers and spectators worldwide.

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Las Vegas GP Background

History of the Las Vegas Grand Prix

The Las Vegas Grand Prix has a history dating back to the early 1980s, with the first event held in 1981. The Grand Prix took place in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, and featured races in 1981 and 1982. However, after the 1982 event, the Grand Prix disappeared from the Formula One calendar for many years.

The original Las Vegas Grand Prix was not held on a Saturday, but its 2023 return sees a shift in scheduling, making it the first time in 38 years that a Grand Prix has been staged on a Saturday. 

Return of the Las Vegas GP in 2023

The Las Vegas Grand Prix is set to make a grand return in 2023, featuring a temporary street circuit on the iconic Las Vegas Strip. The event is scheduled for November 18, 2023, and the track has been designed to showcase the city’s dazzling backdrop and provide a thrilling experience for both drivers and spectators.

The decision to hold the event on a Saturday night is a departure from the traditional Sunday scheduling of Formula One races and aims to capitalize on the city’s energetic atmosphere while providing a unique and unforgettable night race.

With its unique Saturday night timing, the event promises to be a spectacular showcase of racing and entertainment in the heart of Las Vegas as it brings back the history and excitement of the Grand Prix that was once held in the early 1980s.

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Reasons for a Saturday Race

Timing in Europe

One of the primary reasons for holding the Las Vegas GP on a Saturday night is to accommodate European audiences. A Saturday night race in Las Vegas translates to a Sunday early morning start in Europe, which is a convenient time for European fans to follow the race. This ensures that Formula 1 maintains its strong viewership in Europe, where the sport has a significant fan base.

US Audience Appeal

Another reason for the Saturday night scheduling is to increase the appeal for the US audience. Holding a race on a Saturday night creates an exciting atmosphere and allows the American audience to fully engage in the event. This is particularly important, as Formula 1 is striving to grow its fan base in the United States.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Hosting the Las Vegas GP on a Saturday also offers flexibility and adaptability. If there are any unexpected delays or issues, the race organizers have the option to reschedule the event to Sunday without significantly disrupting the racing calendar. This flexibility is valuable to both the organizers and the viewers, ensuring a smooth experience for everyone involved.

Practice and Qualifying Sessions

The Las Vegas Grand Prix will feature a unique format, with practice and qualifying sessions held prior to the main event on Saturday. Traditionally, these sessions occur on Friday and Saturday, respectively. 

For the 2023 Las Vegas GP, free practice will be held on the 16th and 17th of November (Thursday and Friday), then qualifying from midnight to 1am on the 18th.

Who’s Competing?

Fans can expect to see favorites like Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso hitting the Strip to compete in this one-of–a-kind event. 

Given Verstappen’s performance this season so far, it’s no surprise that he’s currently the favorite to win the first event held in Vegas in over 40 years. With odds of -155 (well ahead of the second-favorite Sergio Perez’s +300), it’s clear that sportsbooks are ranking him as a strong contender. 

With the rise of betting in California, we’re sure to see more and more sportsbooks offering competitive odds on the event closer to its start. Other top prospects include Lewis Hamilton (with odds of +1200 at the time of writing) and Fernando Alonso, George Russell, and Charles Leclerc (all currently at odds of +1400). 

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Las Vegas GP Experience

Similar to the marquee F1 event in Singapore, the Las Vegas GP will combine motorsport with a rich cultural and entertainment experience. This exciting fusion is sure to attract enthusiasts from around the globe, ensuring a memorable racing weekend.

Las Vegas is known for its rich culture and top-notch entertainment options. Race attendees will have the chance to explore the city’s numerous attractions and indulge in world-class shows, from high-energy dance productions to mesmerizing magic acts, before or after the main event. 

From the dazzling casinos along the Strip to a vibrant arts scene offering visitors numerous art galleries, museums, and cultural centers, there’s truly something for everyone. 

Tickets and Hospitality Packages

The Las Vegas GP in 2023 is a highly anticipated event on the Formula 1 calendar. Fans can expect a thrilling experience with tickets and hospitality packages designed to offer the best possible views and amenities. With its bright lights, casinos, and world-class entertainment, Las Vegas is the perfect location for an F1 race like no other.

Race Track and Location

The Iconic Las Vegas Strip

The Las Vegas Grand Prix will take place along the iconic Las Vegas Strip. The Strip provides a one-of-a-kind experience, blending the high-stakes atmosphere of motorsports with the extravagance of the entertainment capital of the world.

Temporary Track and Layout

The race will be held on a temporary track designed specifically for the event. This street event will take place alongside iconic locations such as the Venetian and Bellagio hotels, featuring a 6.12 km track with 14 corners that promise a thrilling experience for spectators. The city’s famous landmarks provide a challenging and picturesque backdrop for the race. The track layout is crafted to showcase the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas while delivering a thrilling driving experience for the athletes and an unforgettable spectacle for fans.

Comparison to Other Street Circuits

The Las Vegas GP’s street circuit can be compared to other notable street circuits in the world of motorsports, such as the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo and the Singapore Grand Prix. Like these events, the Las Vegas GP will utilize the city’s infrastructure, transforming public streets into a high-speed racecourse.

The temporary track layout around Caesars Palace shares similarities with the previous Caesars Palace Grand Prix, which took place in the early 1980s. However, the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix offers a new and exciting twist, setting it apart from its predecessor and other street circuits worldwide.

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Future Prospects in the United States

Potential New F1 Races and Expansion

The United States has long been seen as a fertile market for Formula 1 to expand, especially with growing interest in the sport. The addition of the Las Vegas GP is a strategic move to capture a larger US audience, including teenagers and late-night viewers. 

The Las Vegas GP will join existing races in Austin and Miami, showcasing the commitment of Liberty Media’s CEO to expand the sport’s presence in the US market. Furthermore, there are discussions about potentially adding more races to the calendar, targeting key locations that would resonate with the American audience. Night races, like the one in Las Vegas or the existing Abu Dhabi GP, are seen as particularly attractive as they can cater to different time zones and potentially grow the global fanbase.

Long-Term Contracts and Implications

Securing long-term contracts with host cities and venues becomes more crucial as Formula 1 expands its footprint in the United States and beyond. With an initial three-year deal for the Las Vegas GP, it is evident that both parties aim to develop a lasting partnership that attracts fans and generates revenue through ticket sales, packages, and hospitality offerings.

The Austin race, held at the Circuit of the Americas, is also in the process of negotiating a new deal, emphasizing the importance of continuity and commitment to the sport’s growth in the US. Moreover, these long-term contracts can have a positive impact on local businesses, tourism, and infrastructure, providing more incentive for both parties to maintain their relationship.

By focusing on the United States as a key market for expansion, Formula 1 is demonstrating its ambitions to become a truly global sport, connecting with fans and partners in all corners of the world. The Las Vegas GP, along with the existing races in Austin and Miami, are crucial building blocks that will help define the sport’s future success in North America.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When is the 2023 Las Vegas GP?

The 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on Saturday 18 November, with the race starting at 10 pm local time. This timing is chosen to attract fans from all around the world and provide a unique experience for the attendees.

Are night races common in F1?

Night races are not very common in Formula 1. However, there are a few examples, such as the Singapore Grand Prix and the Bahrain Grand Prix. Night races offer a different atmosphere and pose unique challenges for both drivers and teams in terms of visibility and track conditions.

What’s the Las Vegas GP’s significance?

The Las Vegas GP is significant as it marks Formula 1’s return to Las Vegas after several decades. Additionally, it represents a combination of motorsport and entertainment, with the race being held on a street circuit that includes the famous Las Vegas Strip, offering a unique spectacle for fans.

Is Las Vegas the first Saturday GP in F1 history?

No, it isn’t the first Saturday GP in F1 history. There have been a few instances of races being held on Saturdays in the past, but not recently: The most recent was in South Africa in 1985. 

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