Next weekend's inaugural running of the modern Las Vegas Grand Prix is a night race. Since the Nevada desert has massive swings in overnight temperature and it is November, that means the event has a chance to be the coldest Formula 1 race ever run. This should not be news to anyone familiar with deserts above or below the equator as a concept, but it was apparently not factored into Formula 1's original plans for the race.
Ross Brawn, a British person who grew up several thousand miles away from the rugged and vast expanses of America's Southwest, was an executive with Formula One Management from 2017 to 2022, and told outlet TalkSPORT that the organization "hadn't considered initially" that Las Vegas "gets very cold at night."
In quotes transcribed by PlanetF1, Brawn, an F1 genius who not only helped orchestrate Ferrari's titanic success in the Schumacher era but also won with his own team of his own name, adds that this is a major concern for both teams and series tire manufacturer Pirelli. The Vegas track's major focus is on straightaways over tight corner complexes and teams may have issues finding ways to warm their tires properly before qualifying laps. This problem is only compounded by the plan to qualify for the race at midnight local time on Friday night.
The race may be a little better at 10 PM the next evening, but temperatures are expected to drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit both nights. It will be a strange experience for fans, too, with many paying thousands of dollars to sit outside on metal structures in those same cold overnight temperatures. The sacrifice for people actually at the track, and for American television viewers, is all part of a plan to focus on the spectacle of Las Vegas at night, as well as make convenient viewing for Europeans tuning in from another time zone.
While the Formula 1 organization did not factor in the possibility of cold weather initially, the series became aware of the concern at some point in the past two years. The same cannot be said for some members of the Formula 1 paddock; Jalopnik's Elizabeth Blackstock says that "a handful of folks" affiliated with the series were concerned about heat at the race as recently as last month.
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