George Russell, 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix launch, 2022

Las Vegas track ‘good for racing, not the most exciting to drive’ – Russell

2023 F1 season

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George Russell predicts Formula 1’s new circuit in Las Vegas will produce exciting racing but won’t be the most satisfying for drivers to compete on.

The new Las Vegas street circuit features several long straights and multiple corners which are likely to be tackled flat-out. Since it was revealed in March, organisers have added an extra complex of corners, turns seven to nine, breaking up what was previously a continuous 180-degree bend.

Although Russell expects the final layout to be very quick, he isn’t convinced it will be a particularly challenging circuit for drivers.

“It’s never simple driving a Formula 1 car around a circuit that’s as fast as this,” the Mercedes driver told a crowd at a launch event in the city last weekend. “I don’t think this is going to probably be the most exciting one to drive.

Mercedes, 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix launch, 2022
Gallery: 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix launch
“But for you guys watching I feel like this race is designed for good racing, for overtakes, good racing, entertainment. And I think the Sunday for us is going to be super-exciting. But to be honest, I don’t really care as long as we’re at the front.”

New details of the 17-turn, 6.1-kilometre were revealed as tickets went on sale for the 2023 race last week, including the configuration of its pit lane. Drivers will have to negotiate a chicane on the inside of the fast turn 17 as they make their way into the pits. The pit lane exit will blend in as drivers move from the right-hand-side of the track to the left as they transition between turns two and three.

Las Vegas is one of three US rounds on the 2023 F1 calendar, joining this year’s new race in Miami and the United States Grand Prix in Austin, which was first held in 2012. Haas team principal Guenther Steiner believes F1 could seek more races in the USA.

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“I think there is more room for growth,” he said. “After seeing this one, I don’t know where we go with it, but I think we’ll have a fantastic event here next year.

“We have got three races in the United States now, next year. When you think back here, only three or four years ago, there was one race and it wasn’t sure if it [would] continue. Now we’ve got three very solid races, so I think it’s in a good way in the United States.”

Las Vegas Formula 1 street circuit tack map - November 2022 revised layout
Las Vegas Formula 1 street circuit tack map – November 2022 revised layout

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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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28 comments on “Las Vegas track ‘good for racing, not the most exciting to drive’ – Russell”

  1. You will only find the ‘racing’ to be good if you enjoy boring drs highway passes on boringly long straights as that is likely all its going to give us.

    Those who want to see some proper and exciting racing and some competitive wheel to wheel racing resulting in some real overtaking its going to be utterly devoid of that i feel.

  2. That does look a rather dull track. At 6 km spectators won’t see the cars that many times either. Plus it’ll be a night race? So 3-4am in Europe?

    I have no doubt that it will sell out though. America is very, very rich. Las Vegas is just a cash generator for Liberty and why not; F1 is a business, nothing more nothing less.

    1. I think they are aiming for sometime 6 AM in Europe @dang – I agree with you and PEter G above that I don’t see much to feel like getting “good racing”, even if we do get to see far too many “spectacular” shots of fake pyramid, eiffeltower and glam parced in between the DRS passes on the straights with everyone commenting officially telling us how this is the greatest event ever and how excited everyone is.

      For me, it only adds to feeling more and more distanced from F1 and the anti democracy rich people owning it (even if Liberty have done a better job of making it easy to watch than Bernie did in the latter part of his reign)

    2. The reports were of a 22.00 start on Saturday in the Pacific time zone, so about 07.00 in most of Europe on Sunday.

    3. @dang 22:00 local on Saturday (6-8 Sunday in European time zones, so the same as with the Aus & Japanese GPs) has been official info since the LV GP return announcement very early into this season.
      @bascb @MichaelN

      1. Thanks @jerejj for filling in the actual detail of the start times. Yeah, looks like this is pretty reasonable. And off course with modern ways to watch it delayed (either through a local unit or view on demand like with F1TV) I don’t think it has be be a lower European audience per se.

        1. Mark in Florida
          9th November 2022, 12:41

          (@bascb) I guess it depends on people’s interest in something new or different. If the race layout is not optimal I’m sure they will tweak it until it’s better. I wouldn’t condemn it until it’s over and done. As for watching the race and the times being inconvenient for the European time zone. I used to stay up and watch the Suzuka GP at two am before I had a dvr. It can’t always be convenient when you have a sport that spans the globe but I love the racing especially when Shumi was writing the records.

  3. It’s got charisma equal to that of Sochi.

    1. Sochi with fancy lighting, a fake pyramid, fake Eiffeltower and even more fake boobs and noses @g-funk!

    2. Sochi with fancy lighting, a fake pyramid, fake Eiffeltower and even more fake body parts and noses @g-funk!

  4. I love the track layout, although the new chicane ruins it a bit.
    Simple street track layouts are usually the very best (see Avus).

  5. I told everyone so. Most boring track. Worse than Sochi. At least Sochi had corners and a decent third sector. I prefer having Sochi than this junk of highway. Valencia is also way better. Worst track I have ever seen in the sport. No corners to get satisfaction of driving.

    1. Exactly, why bother with all the aerodynamics if you’re going to race these cars on long straights and slow chicane corners. F1 cars are made for tracks like Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, and Suzuka.

      1. 2/3 of those examples always seem to produce boring races, though (Silverstone being the exception to the rule).

        More often than not, the circuits the drivers enjoy are very dull for the spectators in terms of racing.

  6. I’m waiting for them to add in “mario kart style” slot machine each lap which will determine if they get DRS or decide what tyre they can change to next.

    1. With live radio from the driver, who is actually using the slots :D

    2. Why not have the cars release jets of flow-viz out the back?

  7. I told everyone so. Most boring track. Worse than Sochi

    When you said it, you were clearly wrong, because you disagreed with Domenicali.
    The rest of us were wrong, because we disagreed with Domenicali.
    Now George Russell is wrong, because he disagrees with Domenicali.

    Now we can move to the bit where we repeat that sequence for the sprints.
    We were all wrong because Domenicali said so.
    The survey Domenicali & co. started (and binned when the results were not going they way they wanted) was wrong because Domenicali said so.
    and as the final instalment, the drivers are wrong about sprints because Domenicali said so.

    Never before have so many people been wrong… …because Domenicali says so.

    As Lewis Hamilton said in Australia, as Covid-19 started its world tour “cash is king”

  8. To my untrained eye that circuit looks okay. I think it is better than the Red Bull Ring (4.3 km, 10 turns), and has one less corner than Silverstone (5.8 km, 18 turns). It’ll be a bit of a hike to get back to the pits if you got a puncture at Turn 1 at the Start of the Race.
    I’m not sure about the Pitlane Exit, I think it needs a bit more attention, but again I’m not a racing car driver. The article says “The pit lane exit will blend in as drivers move from the right-hand-side of the track to the left as they transition between turns two and three.” Is “blending” the cars travelling at racing speed on the racing line and have hot tyres with accelerating cars with “not so hot” tyres a good idea? It maybe there won’t be any problem with this arrangement, but having cars rejoin at the apex of Turn 2 just looks like there’s going to be lots of appeals to the Stewards for obstruction and claims of “brake testing”, and even collisions. How visible will the cars joining the race be to those in the race? I’m happy to be corrected, but it just looks to me like more wisdom needs to be used here.
    I’m not sure why they put a chicane on the Pitlane Entrance because a speed limit applies. Maybe it is there for another racing series that uses this circuit, but (noting my total lack of racing experience) I think it isn’t necessary for F1. Cars will want to take this as fast as they can, which seems counter-productive. Why not shift the speed limit sign? Every other race track has speed limits applying so why not here? A speed limit sign applies equally to a car with a damaged front wing as one that is “healthy”, while a chicane treats a damaged car differently from a healthy car.

    1. @drycrust – I think it will be an abomination, flat street circuits usually are in my opinion. Though I think Singapore often produces decent races despite it being flat/street circuit.

      As for your question on the pits, it probably helps to see the track map in the actual city setting. You can google it but here is a link, the city map is about a third of the way down the page. (not promoting that page, btw, it has a good map and isn’t behind a paywall.)

      The pits pretty much have to be in an undeveloped area, and that kick out left, with the hairpin back to the pit straight, takes place in a parking lot / empty area. Whether it is safest for traffic or helps racing in any way appears to be moot here as it would have been difficult to put it anywhere else. Perhaps that is reason to not have the race there, but that ship has sailed.

      BTW, I’m American and I cannot think of a worse place for a race. As most are saying, this is entirely for spectacle, zero about racing. F1 did a lot of parking lot racing in US (including Vegas) before it left for a long time. There are reasons why people either stopped caring about these types of races or never cared to begin with. I don’t expect this GP to be a mainstay.

      1. @hobo Thanks for your thoughts. My concern about street circuits is the roads are built for vehicles to travel at the local speed limit. So say the speed limit is 30 mph / 50 km/h then that is what the local council (or whoever) will have used as the standard when they determined things like the smoothness of the roads. Bring along an F1 car, with its hard sprung suspension and 200 mph / 300 km/h speeds, and that circuit can be a very rough ride.

  9. Wow, that is a looong straight.

    1. Yes. I think one special gearbox with extra gears should be allowed here without triggering any penalty.

  10. Seem that George doesn’t understand the difference between overtaking and racing.

    Easy DRS fly buys is not racing, note is it remotely interesting.

  11. The new Las Vegas street circuit features several long straights and multiple corners which are likely to be tackled flat-out.

    – Basically every f1 track

    1. Not necessarily – the 2km straight alone will encourage a low downforce set up. Most tracks now encourage medium.

  12. We’ll see, but the configuration seems decently enjoyable, as I generally enjoy a high-speed, flowing tempo.
    I doubt anyone shares Steiner’s view. Three in one country within a single season is more than enough.

  13. SPA GP 2021 after die hard fans been sitting in the rain for 3 straight days to eventually have the GP cancelled: – “Its ok we will get to see them for many years to come!”
    Miami GP 2022 Venus Williams on her grid walk – Martin Brundle : “Hey Venus you been a F1 fan for long ?”
    Venus Williams : “I don’t know who you are and don’t care to give you 1 second of my life! …… Goooooo Lewis Ricardo !!!!
    Martin Brundle : “You mean Lewis Hamilton ?? ”
    Venus Williams : “HUH???”
    COTA GP 2022 Brad Pitt on his grid walk – Martin Brundle : “Hey Brad can you tell us something about you’re new F1 movie ????”
    Brad Pitt : “Martin who ??? I don’t know who you are get out of my way!”
    Brad Pitt PR : ” Hey Brad you just ignored F1’s Ricky Bobby and one of there most known figures, all while you making a F1 Movie ??”
    Brad Pitt : ” OOPS …. send him an apology tweet!!! ”
    FIA – “I think we should cancel Spa soon and go to Las Vegas”
    Every real F1 Fan – “FACEPALMS!!!!!”

    It’s literary a oval track and racing is going to be boring with DRS trains all over the field. If you think bright lights, fountains & fake Pyramids make for great racing then this race will be for you. Vegas is nothing but a Money spinner for F1 and in the process we sadly loose epic race tracks like Nürburgring, Hockenheim, Mugello and potentially Spa & Monaco in the future.

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