The Las Vegas Grand Prix should be targeted more at the audience in the United States with an earlier start time in future, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
This year’s first edition of the race on the city streets took place at 10pm local time on Saturday night, following on from qualifying at midnight on the Friday. After a number of those involved in Formula 1 struggled with the late schedule, and fans on the East Coast had to stay up until 1am to see the start, Horner believes the race would benefit on multiple fronts if moved earlier.
“As a first off, of course there’s going to be many lessons to learn,” Horner said. “One of the things we look at is the running schedule because it’s been brutal for the team and all the men and women behind the scenes. I think everyone’s leaving Vegas slightly f***ed, one way or another!
“It’s been a brutal weekend for everyone behind the scenes and I think we need to look at how we can improve that for the future … We’re working so late at night; maybe to run it a little earlier in the evening, because you’re never going to keep every television audience totally happy. This is an American race, and if you run it at 8 o’clock in the evening or something like that it would just be a bit more comfortable for the men and women working behind the scenes.”
Horner said Max Verstappen’s victory after a thrilling fight with Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez was the crucial aspect that the race needed to deliver, and believes it will have also played a part in Verstappen softening his stance towards the event.
“I think the most important thing was for this race to deliver on track, and I think it did that,” he said. “I think it was a great grand prix and I think Max will have thoroughly enjoyed that race because that’s what he loves and what he lives for.
“I think the fact that he won it in an Elvis Presley suit and singing ‘Viva Las Vegas’ on an in-lap, whilst you have to respect that it doesn’t sit comfortably with him – some of the razzmatazz that goes around Formula 1 – and it’s quite refreshing that he’s quite refreshing that he’s actually prepared to give an honest opinion, I think he also reflects that it’s an important event for Formula 1 and I think the race and the way it delivered is something you could certainly see he enjoyed.
“He wasn’t judging the race, I think he feels a little uncomfortable with the show element of the Super Bowl effect of what has been applied here. But in terms of the race, he will have certainly enjoyed that race.”