Formula 1 will race on the Las Vegas Strip in 2023 in the third US race of the season
Speculation surrounding a third Las Vegas race that used the world-famous Strip swirled for more than a year and was finally confirmed Wednesday night in a lavish announcement made at the rooftop pool at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Liberty acquired F1 in 2017 and has steadily grown the brand in the United States through the marketing of Netflix’s hugely popular ‘Drive to Survive’ series and docuseries.
The fourth season of “DTS” dropped earlier this month just before the F1 season opener in Bahrain, the first of back-to-back races held in the Middle East. F1 has come under scrutiny for some of these deals due to questionable human rights records in some of the host countries.
So it was an eventful return to Saudi Arabia for F1 last weekend when Yemeni rebels attacked an oil depot in the first practice session on Friday. Smoke and flames could be seen in the background of the racecourse as the oil depot was located only 11 kilometers (seven miles) from the racecourse.
The drivers met for more than four hours to determine if they were comfortable continuing with Sunday’s race, which was ultimately uneventful.
Yet F1 has been accused of overlooking serious human rights abuses while collecting hefty sanction fees from host nations. But in the case of the Las Vegas race, it will be F1 and Liberty supporting the event.
F1 and Liberty are also partnering with Live Nation Entertainment and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for the race. The “founding partners” announced Wednesday night were Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Las Vegas.
MSG Sphere, Resorts World Las Vegas and The Venetian Resort have been announced as main sponsors.
“It’s an incredible moment for Formula 1 that demonstrates the huge appeal and growth of our sport with a third race in the United States,” said F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. “Las Vegas is a destination known around the world for its excitement, hospitality, thrills and, of course, the famous Strip. There’s no better place to race in Formula 1 than in the entertainment capital of the world and we can’t wait to be here next year.”
No date has been given for the November race, but the Saturday night after Thanksgiving has been mooted. The 50-lap race is expected to span a 3.8-mile urban course. The circuit revealed on Wednesday evening featured three main straights, 14 corners including a sequence of high-speed corners and a single chicane section.
COTA drew more than 300,000 spectators during its three-day weekend last October and track chairman Bobby Epstein said adding Las Vegas to the F1 schedule should not dilute its event .
“There is enough to perpetuate this sport. What I love about what F1 does and what I think the fans will realize is that each event is very different from the next and will be very unique,” Epstein told The Associated Press.
“Other American races are going to be more about the city and the destination, and ours is going to be more about the event itself. I’m excited to be going to Vegas, not just for F1, but because the city offers so much more entertainment, off and away from the track If I’m already a regular visitor to Vegas it will be more a question of whether I choose to go to F1 this year and not March Madness or a heavyweight fight?