Saturday 10pm start is ‘perfect time slot’ for Las Vegas Grand Prix – Domenicali

2023 F1 season

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Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali says holding the Las Vegas Grand Prix on Saturday night is the “perfect” time slot for the race.

The championship, which hasn’t held a race outside of a Sunday for 37 years, announced the break with convention for its new addition to the schedule. The new Las Vegas round will take place in November next year.

Domenicali confirmed the race will start at 10pm local time. That means the race will begin at 6am on Sunday morning for those in the UK and an hour later for those in central Europe, unless it is held in the first weekend of November, when both times will be an hour earlier due to the daylight savings schedule in America.

“I think that is a perfect time and perfect slot for that event in this context,” said Domenicali.

Holding the race on Saturday night means the cars will race under lights along the Las Vegas Strip. Arranging a typical 3pm start “would be a total mistake,” said Domenicali.

“That’s the reason why we are flexible. We are showing that’s the right moment to have the best show in this context. I don’t see any problem on that.

“If you think actually what is, in terms of timing in Europe represented the racing time we have decided, 10pm Saturday night [in Las Vegas] is perfect because also that audience will be connected.”

Analysis: First look at F1’s new Las Vegas street circuit
F1 has agreed a three-year deal to race in Las Vegas. Domenicali said the series’ third race in the USA, joining the rounds in Austin, Texas and Miami, Florida will perfectly represent the modern championship.

“We are a sport that needs to make sure that the racing is real,” he said. “But adding real racing in an incredible context is the perfect combination of what Formula 1 stands [for] today.

“It’s emotion, it’s passion, it’s a business, it’s relationships, it’s culture and it’s intensity. And this is the reason why this is the perfect place to be.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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39 comments on “Saturday 10pm start is ‘perfect time slot’ for Las Vegas Grand Prix – Domenicali”

  1. The cars are getting wider and the tracks are getting skinnier.

    1. The strip is actually very wide. 5 lanes much wider than alot of tracks they currently run on.

      1. True, but those 5 lanes are currently bordered by sidewalks on the outside and concrete islands with trees on the inside. Each side will have to be lined with concrete barriers and fences, both of which will cut into that 5 lanes of width. Not saying it’ll be as tight as Monaco, but the Strip section won’t remain 5 lanes wide.

  2. Ahh thats why what goes on in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Basically because the rest of the planet is asleep while its on.

    I think that would be a hell of a weekend though. Sign me up

  3. I guess they’ve scheduled it late on Saturday to give a wide birth to College Football, and to avoid the NFL altogether.

    1. The day yes, but for the timeslot consider that Vegas is in the middle of the desert so conditions are better in the evening by far. And also, the lights are awesome when its dark in Vegas.

      1. Vegas only average highs are only around 20C in November while lows are around 9C. If the race runs on Thanksgiving weekend (which is close to December) then they have some real risk of running in close to freezing weather, as the average low in December is 4C.

    2. Austin GP runs on a Sunday during football season, so it’s not that.

      They want the night race. Vegas at night looks spectacular. And the time zones work for both Asia and Europe.

      1. @mjbstl Indeed. If NFL were a factor, the US GP at COTA would either get hold outside the NFL season or at a different time. This timing choice is predominantly for European viewers since Europe is still F1’s biggest market.

    3. It is scheduled so that us Europeans can watch it sunday morning, just like Melbourne.

  4. Perfect for Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, West Coast. Only ones who will find it difficult would be East Coast and Europe.

    Personally, I am happy that at least one of the season-ending Americas Grand Prix (Mexico, Brazil, COTA) won’t be too late in the night for me in India.

    1. @sumedhvidwans Not really difficult for Europe since the timings will be the same as for Australia & Japan.
      I certainly don’t complain as 22:00 in LV means 08:00 for me. I’d be fine even with two or three hours earlier.

  5. I’ve never minded the early morning time slots for F1 in Britain, usually for the Far Eastern races. It’s one of the reasons why starting the season in Bahrain feels so wrong – an early start for the Australian GP was a special way to begin the year.

    Although I’m old enough to remember when the first F1 night race (in 2008!) was considered a dangerous heresy. With (probably) four Middle Eastern twilight races, Singapore and now Las Vegas for 2023, perhaps a quarter of the calendar will be run under lights. Shows how far we’ve come, although I’m not sure in which direction.

  6. Obviously not every race can be at a reasonable time but it does seem stupid to have a US race at a time too late for most Americans, especially East coast.

    I know that the lights will be better at night and they want the iconic Vegas look but I think this could backfire in viewer numbers.

    1. @glynh Perhaps in Eastern US/NA viewer numbers, but definitely not Europe, which is still the biggest market for viewers (nor Asia), & besides, Sunday 01:00 is less unideal than Monday 01:00.

      1. Isn’t a 22.00 start in Vegas something like 06.00/07.00 in Europe?

  7. You can tell they’re really trying to sell it by the number of times he said “perfect”

  8. 1AM Eastern US is less than ideal.

    1. Yes this time makes no sense for the majority of US viewers. Sunset at Vegas in November happens at 4:30pm. I have no idea why they will wait until most of the US is asleep to start this race.

      1. Because they wait for Europe to wake up

        1. @turch17 Yes since Europe has the most TV viewers.
          @jimfromus @danarcha But less ideal than the same time on Monday.

          1. This race would start at 1 pm in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Western Australia.

          2. @faulty 2 pm assuming Thanksgiving weekend.

  9. As an American in the Eastern time zone, I will DVR it and watch Sunday before NFL kicks off. Basically it will be like most F1 races in September or later.

    1. And stay off Race Fans until after viewing.

  10. Last year BYU vs USC started at 10:30PM ET on ESPN and pulled 1.46 million viewers Which is still more than the USGP last year (avg 1.2 million viewers)

    1. BYU! “Don’t care how you bring ’em … just bring ’em young!”

    2. Yeah, American sports viewers actually do spend a lot of time watching evening events. NBA & baseball are usually evening to night events, and when they happen on the west coast, it’s late for eastern viewers.

  11. don’t like the venue but the time alone is so worth it, Saturday night races are the best, i can have a beer, snacks, no kids jumping or changing the channel, so good for me.

  12. So 22:00 locally rather than, for instance, 20:00 as I initially assumed not that complain as the former is even more ideal for European viewers.
    I think we can pretty safely assume the LV GP gets placed on Thanksgiving weekend, so 25.11 race day.
    Holding together with COTA & Mexico would be better unless these two & Brazil get shuffled around, which I doubt.

  13. I hate all of this

    1. Me too…

  14. A US race that starts after midnight for 70% of the US, genius. Between this and his specious remarks in KSA, I’m beginning to think Domenicali might be putting self interests above what’s best for the sport.

  15. I disagree with having more than one race per Nation.
    The track looks uninspired to say the least though we won’t know until we try it.
    I do not like the start time.

    However – what trumps all of those – is the fact that I detest the USA style razzmatazz and immature Fame worship that will accompany this farce.

    Almost certainly one to strike off the list and just read the racing highlights.

    1. @nullapax and yet we have a race in a country where “Fame worship” originated, went as far as it could go (murder), and still manages to twist itself.

      Let’s get out of England and leave the Crown and its razzmatazz Royals behind. ;)

    2. However – what trumps all of those – is the fact that I detest the USA style razzmatazz and immature Fame worship that will accompany this farce.

      And your opinion on the Monaco GP is…?

      1. @S that’s whataboutery of the first order

        Personally, I detest the Monaco GP for its style-over-substance existence. It’s a boring race on a ridiculous street track with too much emphasis on the attendees rather than the sport.

  16. US is making daylight savings permanent from November next year. So won’t fall back in November in 2023 and will make it an hour earlier for everyone else on the world.

    Night race in Vegas’s will optically look fantastic. But I wouldn’t think would be welcomed by east coast viewers or Europe as noted above.

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