Saturday, February 24, 2024

When F1 First Met Las Vegas: The Caesars Palace Grand Prix

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When F1 First Met Las Vegas: The Caesars Palace Grand Prix

A big headline of the 2023 F1 season is the show that will be put on in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The new US race was introduced into the Formula One World Championship 2023 calendar, scheduled for its debut on November 18th.

Part of the temporary street circuit for the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix will be the famous Las Vegas Strip.

It’s a big, exciting event, just as the inaugural Miami Grand Prix from the 2022 season was.

That is all very fitting. But while the hype for this new race is sky-high, this isn’t the first time that the F1 season has been to Las Vegas.

The First Vegas Track

The First Vegas Track

Las Vegas stepped in when the previous Watkins Glen race in New York couldn’t meet the financial obligations for the 1981 F1 season.

Formula 1 betting sites will have quotes on the race from what is the main punters capital of the world.

The parking area at Caesars Palace, a renowned casino along the Las Vegas Strip, was utilized.

It was a secure, enclosed area which didn’t mean massive disruptions around the city streets, and it was an ideal flat smooth surface for racing.

READ: Top 5 Best F1 Drivers 2023

Another positive of the track was that it was nice and wide, leading to overtaking opportunities.

Far From Ideal

Far From Ideal

The original Las Vegas Grand Prix race did get a couple of things wrong. The first was making it run counter-clockwise, which contrasted with most other F1 races, putting unusual strains on the left-hand side of cars and drivers’ necks.

The second issue was that two sections of the temporary track were identical. Corners 1 through 5 and Corners 6 through 10 being the same layout, meant that drivers had to go through repetitive sections, which didn’t go down well.

The track was also crammed into a relatively small space and was barely a 3 km circuit, whereas a lot of races today on circuits 5 km and above, so the repetition was ramped up.

List Of Anti-Clockwise Tracks Scheduled For F1 2023

List Of Anti-Clockwise Tracks Scheduled For F1 2023

  • Azerbaijan Grand Prix
  • Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
  • Singapore Grand Prix
  • Japanese Grand Prix
  • American Grand Prix
  • Las Vegas Grand Prix

Caesars Palace Grand Prix

Caesars Palace Grand Prix

F1 visited Las Vegas for the Caesars Palace Grand Prix for the first time in 1981.

The latest addition was presented during the ultimate race of the 1981 Formula One season.

It was a 75-lap race of 272.775 km (169.50 miles). Because of the high desert heat that hits the area in the summer, the race was sensibly scheduled as late as possible.

But still, it was hot enough that drivers had a lot to deal with and some drivers were finding the going tough even through practice.

The race was won by Williams-Ford driver Alan Jones, a good 20 seconds ahead of the great Alain Prost.

Bruno Giacomelli was third, with Britain’s Nigel Mansell bringing his Lotus-Ford home in fourth place, a long way off the top three finishers.

Back To Vegas

Back To Vegas

The FIA were pleased with the event and the Formula One show returned to Las Vegas in 1982 for another edition.

Once again it was the final race of the season and kept the same track format with a small increase in race length 273.750 km (170.100 miles).

This time the Caesars Palace Grand Prix was won by Italian Michele Alboreto for Tyrrell-Ford, streaks ahead of runner-up John Watson in his McLaren-Ford.

US driver Eddie Cheever gave home fans plenty to cheer for as he came home third ahead of Alain Prost who had started on pole.

Better Times Ahead

Better Times Ahead

When F1 returns to Las Vegas in 2023, it will again be run anti-clockwise. But this time the track is much more driver-friendly, with expected top speeds hitting 210 mph, and features a 2k sprint straight down the famous Las Vegas Strip.

It feels bigger, better, and importantly a lot more planning has gone into this one. It should deliver full-on, over-the-top, Vegas-style entertainment.

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