Just a few years ago, the sport of Formula One seemed confined to the periphery. Sure, there were those devout fans that made sure to watch every race, following drivers via social media with a near-on religious fervour. But for the majority, Formula One was a sport that was little understood and the athletic prowess and strength of its drivers going unappreciated. Then Netflix dropped Drive to Survive, a series that, over the course of 10 episodes, granted viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the previous Formula One season and the dedication, training and teamwork the sport demands.
Not surprisingly, Drive to Survive not only became hugely successful, but also put racing on the map. Suddenly it appealed to a new legion of fans as it became less about fast cars and hairpin turns and about the men behind the wheel. There were insights into race-day bust-ups, contract disputes and team rivalry. The whole thing proved more entertaining than an episode of Married at First Sight.
As the popularity of the sport continues to soar, it marks good news for residents of Las Vegas as it’s been announced the city will once again add Formula One to the calendar with an exciting street circuit layout that includes the famous Strip. It marks more than 40 years since the sport first took to the famous city, since Silver City of 1981 and the 1982 circuit that was built entirely in the car park of Caesars Palace Casino. For those familiar with Las Vegas, establishing such a circuit is no easy task due to an anti-clockwise layout and high temperatures. In a bid to make the experience a more enjoyable one for both race organisers and drivers alike, the race will now take place along Vegas streets, featuring a 2km stretch of track taking drivers down the famous Strip.
Set to take place amidst the Mojave Desert and its mountain ranges, the race will be a stunning 6.12km street circuit that weaves its way through the city of Las Vegas. Taking place at night, the city will come alive with its lights to provide the ultimate sporting spectacle.
As Formula 1 suggests, “Every night is party night in Vegas, but Saturday is the showpiece, so it’s fitting that the Grand Prix will uniquely take place then, allowing race goers to watch the world’s best going wheel to wheel before kicking on their night with a visit to a casino, drinks at a rooftop bar or some late-night shopping.”
The publication adds, “That means everything will happen a day earlier than usual, with qualifying on Friday and practice on Thursday.”
Designers have worked hard to achieve a racing course that is worthy of global attention. Having produced 31 different layout variations, they have since agreed on the final version being a spectacular 14-turn high-speed design where the average speed will be high.
While Vegas roads are known to be bumpy, it’s been revealed that ahead of the race, the layout will be resurfaced to iron out the creases. And while it’s marketed as a street circuit, it’s not exactly going to play out like a scene from Fast and Furious. Rather, the track will be around 12-15m wide with plenty of space for cars to overtake and get alongside each other as drivers fight for prime position.
In bringing the F1 to Las Vegas, the United States will now hold claim to three races in 2023, with Vegas joining the likes of Miami and Austin. Miami joins the racing calendar in 2022 with a street circuit that takes drivers around the Hard Rock Stadium and has been designed with overtaking in mind. Meanwhile, Austin’s Circuit of The Americas will become a permanent racing facility, featuring huge elevation change throughout.