Formula 1: What to expect from Las Vegas GP?
When Formula 1 announced the inaugural Las Vegas GP, one thing was immediately clear: it was going to be a spectacle.
With corporate sponsors, casinos, and the teams themselves getting in on the action, there’s going to be glitz and glamour everywhere throughout the race week. As we inch ever closer to the race weekend, here are some of the things one can expect from the first-ever Las Vegas Grand Prix.
A grand opening ceremony?
From the moment it was confirmed that Las Vegas would be hosting a Formula 1 Grand Prix, one thing was clear: it was going to be a grand event.
But if you had any doubts, those were erased last month when the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) announced, in conjunction with the Las Vegas Grand Prix, an “Opening Ceremony” for the race.
As a first of its kind, on Wednesday, November 15, the kickoff event will feature all 20 drivers, along with “iconic names in the music industry, including Andra Day, Bishop Briggs, J Balvin, Journey, Keith Urban, Steve Aoki, Swedish House Mafia, Thirty Seconds to Mars, and Will.i.am, plus appearances by Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil.”
As far as what to expect for the event, the LVCVA also stated that “the show will kick off with an immersive display celebrating the arrival of Formula 1 in Las Vegas, followed by each artist’s performance that pays tribute to Las Vegas’s rich history in entertainment, and culminating with team and driver introductions.”
“For the first-ever Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix, it was important for us to create an opening ceremony that balances the spirit of Las Vegas with the global excitement that Formula 1 and these incredible drivers bring to each host city,” said Renee Wilm, the CEO of the Las Vegas Grand Prix. “We are proud to be able to work with the very best in the entertainment production space to offer one of the most diverse line-ups of beloved musical superstars, which will officially launch the race week festivities.”
As the Sports and Entertainment Capital of the World, it is only fitting that we kick off the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix with an incredible lineup of world-renowned music and athletic talent,” said Steve Hill, President and CEO of the LVCVA. “We are proud to partner with Formula 1 to give the fans in the audience and viewers around the world an unforgettable start to a truly momentous weekend in Las Vegas.”
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Going that extra mile
Hospitality has always been a big part of an F1 weekend, as the ten teams welcome fans and corporate partners alike to the paddock. However, for the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, the teams are going the extra mile.
Leader of the pack on that front, Mercedes announced last month their “Vegas Club,” a three-level space that “will set the standard in premium trackside entertainment and reinvent corporate event hospitality through a location-based design, experience, and atmosphere.”
According to the team the Vegas Club will “combine an unparalleled view of the thrilling on-track action, with immersive off-track experiences featuring live music, A-list DJ sets, and cabaret, along with fine gourmet cuisine and speciality cocktails. Set over three levels, the space will take the very essence of Sin City and distill it into every aspect of Vegas Club.”
Apart from Mercedes, Williams also announced that their fan zone experience is going to Sin City, for their final Fan Zone of the 2023 F1 season. Williams fans will be able to join the team at the Brooklyn Bridge at the New York-New York Hotel, right on the Strip and nearby the circuit’s Turn 14-15-16 complex.
According to the team, the Fan Zone will include “a star-studded line-up of appearances” including driver meet-and-greet sessions with Alexander Albon and Logan Sargeant, live Q&A sessions with drivers and team members, and much more.
As for McLaren, CEO Zak Brown has only been teasing the media about their hospitality offerings since last month. “We definitely do, we don’t want to spoil our surprises,” said Brown when asked about McLaren’s plans for Las Vegas. “It’s a very important market for us, very important race for us and our fans and our sponsors. We’re one of the leaders in activation of our sport, and so you can count on us for exciting things in Vegas.”
The casinos up the ante
As you might expect, the casinos in Las Vegas are locked in a battle of their own for the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix.
And depending on how much money you are willing to spend—from $9,000 packages to spending $5 million for a group package—casinos are offering outlandish deals for guests during the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Corporate partners getting in on the act
Heineken announced in October a partnership with Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing to deliver “on-the-ground activations, concerts at Heineken House, and more than 100 Heineken Silver sampling events all week long heading into the world’s most anticipated F1 race weekend.”
Similarly, Chase Sapphire will be holding immersive cardmember events throughout the race week. Events include an immersive experience at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Michael B. Jordan, including driving experiences, a cocktail hour with an open bar, a gourmet dining experience curated by Chef Tolu Eros, the “Billionaire Chef,” and much more.
Will cold temperatures pose a challenge?
As the cars hit speeds over 320 kmph down the Las Vegas Strip, the temperature is expected to be somewhere between 41-50º F (5-10º C). The average low in Las Vegas through November is 46º F (8º C), so this is likely to be one of the coldest races in F1 history. The record low was 41º F (5º C) at the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix, held in Montreal in early October.
“It is probably the first time that we expect conditions this cold,” Mario Isola, the F1 chief for tire supplier Pirelli, told The Athletic earlier this week.
Isola also acknowledged that it would be a big unknown for drivers as they encounter such conditions for the first time since switching to the 18-inch Pirelli tyres.
Thus, under lights, this 6.2 km-long street track could turn Las Vegas into one of the most challenging F1 races on the calendar.