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The Circuit

Formula One returns to Las Vegas for the first time in over 40 years this weekend.

If there’s one place in the world that should encompass the glitz, glamour and entertainment of Formula One, then it’s almost certainly Las Vegas. New for 2023, the world’s greatest motor racing spectacle will prepare to tear along the Vegas Strip on a Saturday night.

The Team experienced a glimpse of what Vegas has to offer in 2022, when we ran a demo show car along the famous streets as part of the F1 Vegas launch party.

Fact File: Las Vegas Grand Prix

  • 2023's Vegas circuit is very different circuit to that of previous years; a 17-corner (11 to the left, six to the right), anti-clockwise 6.201 km high-speed blast through the most famous streets of Las Vegas including the Strip.

  • The track is the second-longest on the 2023 calendar, only shorter than Spa-Francorchamps.

  • Our initial simulations show that top speeds will be second only to the 'Temple of Speed' at Monza.

  • Owing to the slower corners though where the cars take longer to navigate, drivers will spend just over 66% of the lap at full throttle.

  • The set-up trade-off will be ensuring that top speeds are not compromised whilst the car retains good mechanical grip and downforce for the low-speed corners, such as Turns 1-4, Turns 7-9, Turn 12, and Turns 14-16.

  • Another challenge for the engineers and drivers will be the likely cold temperatures. At night in November, it is not unknown for temperatures to reach single-digit Celsius.

  • Saturday's race will also be the latest starting Grand Prix in F1's history. The first night race, the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, took place at 20:00 local time.

  • This year's Las Vegas Grand Prix will get underway at 22:00 local time, with qualifying taking place at midnight on the same day.

  • That schedule means that those supporting in our Race Support Room at Brackley will be working at similar times as they do for the Japanese Grand Prix, reporting to work around 02:00 GMT.

The temporary circuit will not be the first to have hosted F1 cars for a World Championship race. Back in 1981 and 1982 the Caesar's Palace Grand Prix – based in the parking lot of the famous hotel – played host to the season finale.

For the first time since the 1985 South African Grand Prix, the sport will race on a Saturday.

  • First GP
  • Circuit Length
  • Race Distance
  • Laps

Insight: Getting Ready for Las Vegas

“The Las Vegas race is a huge operation,” explains Victoria Johnson, Marketing Operations Director. That is true both on and off track for the team. It is one of the most anticipated events in the sport’s history and will present unique challenges.

“In terms of planning, it takes about a year to deliver a race such as Las Vegas,” Victoria continues. Grands Prix such as this, and Miami, “have given us new marketing opportunities and new audiences to tap into. The team have put a huge investment into both of these races.”

That includes a three-storey Mercedes hospitality offering overlooking the track called ‘Vegas Club’. It’s a massive logistical undertaking but one that will re-invent what is possible in terms of on-event guest hosting.

For the team focused on running the cars, Vegas will be just as challenging an operation. “The temperature is due to go down to four or five degrees Celsius overnight. That is very unusual for an F1 race,” explains Sporting Director Ron Meadows. Riccardo Musconi, Head of Trackside Performance, adds: “Another challenge is going to be the time zone. We are going to be working on a Suzuka schedule, so Japanese Grand Prix times but in the US. The people back at the factory will be turning up to work at 2am.”

There are other factors to consider too. “It is going to be a brand-new surface. We don’t know exactly what the aggregate type will be. Nobody will know until we turn up in Vegas and start driving around. I think this will be the key element of the weekend,” Riccardo continues.

We have been preparing for the challenge of racing at a venue that is a complete unknown. We have prepared the best we can, using the limited information we have, and there are some unique characteristics we can anticipate.

Toto Wolff

Las Vegas Track Guide