F1 Officials Promise to Make F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix 'Smarter, More Efficient'

f1 grand prix of las vegas
F1 Las Vegas Promises Be Smarter, More EfficientNurPhoto - Getty Images
  • The inaugural F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix was marred on track by loose drain covers and consequent delays to practice.

  • Off the track, fans dealt with few general admission tickets. high prices and longer-than-expected disruptions to normal traffic.

  • Race promoter Formula 1 vows to fix many of the first-year issues.

Formula 1 chiefs will retain the core hallmarks of the Las Vegas Grand Prix but have promised to be smarter, more efficient, and make more general admission tickets available in 2024.

Las Vegas’ much-hyped addition to the calendar in 2023, with a circuit laid out around the center of the city, including along the Strip, was a key cornerstone of Liberty Media’s growth of Formula 1 in the United States.


The on-track spectacle was a success, with the race one of the most enthralling of a largely mundane 2023 campaign, after early teething problems—the loose drain covers and consequent delays to practice—threatened to put a dampener on proceedings.

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The first practice session for last year’s F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix was marred by loose drain covers on the circuit.JIM WATSON - Getty Images

“I hope we get a race nearly as good, or even better,” said Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei during an event last weekend in Monaco. “I hope we have no track failures early, that would be nice, there was a heartache or two early.

“I expect we will learn to optimize and do things more efficiently. In some cases we moved so quickly, I credit Las Vegas for the help they gave us, to get that race literally from zero, in 15 months, is just amazing. I think we’ll be smarter, we’ll be more efficient, we’ll probably be less disruptive to the community, we’ll probably understand better and better what fans want.”

A primary gripe among locals and visitors to Las Vegas during 2023 was the widespread disruption in and around the Strip, as the roads used for the circuit were extensively repaved. That will not be an issue during the preparations for this November’s round.

“Tearing up the Strip for a year, and having to create and lay down the actual track was a monumental task,” said Brian Gullbrants, president at Wynn Las Vegas & Encore, one of the Founding Partners of the Las Vegas Grand Prix. “But that’s where the stress and angst came from for the local community. That doesn’t have to be done every year, so now we should have a much smoother race and build-up.”

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Formula 1 is contracted for at least two more races in Las Vegas. It’s a deal expected to be extended.Dan Istitene - Formula 1 - Getty Images

Organizers were largely pleased with the ease of access in and around the city during the race weekend, including ingress and egress from the hotels and casinos for thousands of visitors and staff, despite the paraphernalia in place for Formula 1. Tweaks can always be made while one target is reducing the hours that the roads—in particular the Strip—are closed each day.

“I think the community was nervous because it’s never been done before,” said Formula 1 Chief Commercial Officer Emily Prazer. “[There’s] never been [anything] as aggressive in shutting down Las Vegas Boulevard for the duration so I understand the concerns, but we’ve proven the logistics. Now we need to shorten the time it takes us to build things, which we’re working on, and we’re working on stronger community and communication plans—I’m not suggesting it’ll be perfect but we’ll work hard to pacify the nerves.”

A race start time of 10 p.m. PST on Saturday has been retained—a favorable slot for Las Vegas but less ideal for U.S. fans on the east coast—while Thursday and Friday’s schedule has been brought forward by two hours. There have been no changes to the layout of the 6.2 km circuit, which is among the lengthiest and fastest on the calendar.

Some of the off-track activities—notably those involving drivers—will nonetheless be toned down.

“They have different stresses, at a new race, [they’d] never driven the track, didn’t know what they were walking into, but they were incredibly supportive in the build up to help us,” Prazer said on the drivers. “I think there were nerves, but they participated in activities. We’re definitely going to tone it down this year, we did do way too much with them last year.”

Prazer expects 2024’s race to be sold out and there will be around 7,000 more general ddmission tickets made available, broadening the type of spectator that can attend. It is a subtly tacit concession that some fans felt been priced out, or initially dissuaded to attend, given the manner in which Las Vegas promoted its 2023 event.

Formula 1 and Las Vegas have an initial three-year deal—with a framework for this to run through 2032 thanks to county legislation—and championship chiefs are clear that the event is regarded as a long-term proposition. After all, Formula 1, which is the promoter of the event, invested heavily in the land on which the pits and paddock complex is now built. It is something of a flagship for the championship.

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This year, the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix will again start at 10 p.m. PT, 1 a.m. ET.Clive Mason - Formula 1 - Getty Images

“I would say even before we got involved in Formula 1, when we were considering investing and buying it, we thought Las Vegas would be an unbelievably great place to have a race,” Maffei said. “But for a bunch of reasons we never really got going on it until about three, three-and-a-half years ago, when really the traction began.

“We did invest $650 million between what we brought, and the property, and what we put into it. That’s a scale investment that I think tops any other investment someone’s put into a site for a Formula 1 race. We did that because we saw the opportunity, we saw that it would have an opportunity on so many levels.

“First Las Vegas is a place of glamour, it is a place where people go to have an amazing time.

“We also saw the secondary effect and potential that there’d be new sponsors, there’d be new fan interest in the United States and elsewhere from a race in Las Vegas. I think it’s a long-term perspective. We’ll learn to do things smarter, we’ll continue to optimize the offerings we have for fans, we’ll continue to be thoughtful about the community, and we have a long-term perspective obviously with the amount of capital we put in Las Vegas, as we have a long-term perspective across the sport.

"We’re here for the duration and we want to make Formula 1 tremendous, and no place would that be more exciting and potentially better than Vegas.”