Formula 1 is adding third US race from 2023 with the Las Vegas GP, which will see cars race along the famous strip at night; 10pm local start means an early race for UK viewers but Stefano Domenicali says earlier start would be “total mistake”
Last Updated: 01/04/22 2:04pm
Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali says holding the Las Vegas Grand Prix on a Saturday night is the “perfect time” and is confident that a third race in the United States will only boost the sport’s popularity.
F1 confirmed on Wednesday that from 2023 they will be racing in Las Vegas, with the famous Strip forming a unique backdrop for a street race that will see cars speed past the sights at around 212mph.
In a break from Sunday’s race day tradition, the Grand Prix is set to take place on a Saturday night in November, at 10pm local time.
“I think that is a perfect time and a perfect slot for that event in this context,” said Domenicali, the sport’s CEO and president.
That slot means a potential 5 or 6am start time for UK fans, although Domenicali insisted that having the race at a more normal start time of 3pm “would be a total mistake” given the appeal of a race under lights in Vegas.
“Formula 1 cannot be static,” added Domenicali, with the 10pm start time set to make it F1’s latest race.
“To have a race on Saturday at 3pm, that would be a total mistake. That is the reason why we are flexible, we are showing that’s the right moment to have the best show in this context.
“I don’t see any problem on that. And if you think actually in terms of timing in Europe, the race time we have on Saturday is 10pm, Saturday night is perfect because also that audience will be connected.”
Domenicali happy with three US events | ‘It will be a flagship race’
The event will break a 39-year drought for a race in Las Vegas, with the city previously hosting the Caesars Palace Grand Prix in 1984 on a track in the car park of the casino.
F1’s return sees the combination of “real racing in an incredible context” and “is the perfect combination of what Formula 1 stands for today”, according to Domenicali.
“It’s emotion, it’s passion, it’s a business, it’s relationships, it’s culture and it’s intensity,” he said. “And this is the reason why this is the perfect place to be.”
It also means the USA will be the only country with more than two races on the calendar, with Vegas adding to the United States GP in Austin, Texas and the Miami GP, which debuts this year around the Hard Rock Stadium.
“We do believe, without being arrogant, that Formula 1 will be something that the American fans will love to be involved even more,” stated Domenicali. “We do believe this is a very important market in developing the love of our sport.”
At the announcement for the Las Vegas GP, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said the city expected 170,000 visitors on a race weekend and predicted an “iconic flagship race” in F1.
“What happens in Las Vegas only happens in Las Vegas,” he said. “Nobody puts on a party like Las Vegas and I predict that this will be the iconic race, the flagship race, of F1 within a couple of years.”