Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Las Vegas Strip Circuit, 2023

Las Vegas unlikely to be another Singapore for Red Bull, say rivals

Formula 1

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Red Bull’s rivals do not expect the world champions will be any more vulnerable at the new Las Vegas Strip Circuit than they have at most other venues this year.

The dominant Red Bull drivers have won all but one of the 20 grands prix contested in 2023, with their sole defeat coming in the Singapore Grand Prix in September – the last race held on a street circuit before this weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Despite Red Bull losing out at the last street circuit the sport visited, McLaren driver Lando Norris expects world champion Max Verstappen to once again be the driver to beat in Vegas.

“If you look back to Monza, he was way quicker than everyone, pretty much,” Norris said. “It could be another Singapore-type thing, but unlikely. I don’t know. There’s just a lot of guessing and there’s no point guessing.”

Norris does not expect McLaren’s chances of snatching a race win to be any higher at the new street circuit than anywhere else.

“There’s always the chances and possibilities – small chance of rain, things like that, maybe play into your hands at certain points,” Norris said. “But it can go any way.”

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso does not expect his team to be in the fight for victory this weekend despite taking a podium in the last round in Brazil.

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“It would be nice to win a race, especially the first race in a place like this one, but I think it’s unlikely that happens,” Alonso said. “I don’t think that this track really is one of our favourites with our package. So I guess it’s going to be difficult.”

Asked if he felt Verstappen would be any more vulnerable in Las Vegas this weekend, Alonso replied: “I don’t think so.”

However, Verstappen’s team mate Sergio Perez said Red Bull are unsure about how they will fare at the brand new venue due to the lack of data available about the circuit.

“I think it’s a place that we have no idea how it’s going to be,” Perez said.

“It’s so different to the rest of the year, because, first of all, the temperatures. It’s all about keeping the tyres in the window, keeping them warm. I think that’s going to be the challenge. It’s going to be very different to anything else that we’ve done this year. I don’t think we know how strong we’re going to be, so it will be an interesting one.”

With high speeds expected down the long straights on the new street course, Vegas is being compared to the fast street circuit of Baku in Azerbaijan – the track where Perez took his latest grand prix victory. Asked if he felt his Baku win would give him or Red Bull any advantage heading into the weekend, Perez said “not really.”

“Every weekend, even if we go now to Baku, things are different,” he explained. “Things have changed. It’s how the years evolve in Formula 1.

“I feel like we are in a good moment as a group, as a team. We haven’t been able to put the result all together in the last few weekends, but I believe that we are on our way and we are getting a lot closer to our performances from earlier in the season.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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3 comments on “Las Vegas unlikely to be another Singapore for Red Bull, say rivals”

  1. Indeed as the two circuits are totally different. More or less zero similarities.

  2. you look back to Monza, he was way quicker than everyone, pretty much

    RB hardly had 2 tenths pace advantage over Ferrari at Monza.

    They aren’t winning Vegas easily if it’s cold. The track also has no corners and will bring the field closer significantly.

  3. The Red Bull would be less strong than on some other circuits – whether that will be enough is a 2nd question.

    The RB19 has not really been improved since summer so at end of the season other teams are getting closer as we have seen in Texas and also Brazil.
    * Lower quality, lower grip and bumpy racetrack means RB19 ride height needs to be up.
    * Lack of high speed corners (RB19 key advantage)
    * Low temperatures which hurts the RB19 in qualifying (slower to warm up tires)
    * Low temperatures during race helps other teams with tire degradation
    * Lots of long(er) straights which help specific teams, RB19 is good but not the best at high speed
    * Those straights also mean lower/smaller rear wings which reduces the DRS effect another RB19 advantage

    So there are plenty of factors working against Red Bull add to that the high risk of VSC or SC as well as first few corners chaos and besides a higher chance for another team to win on merit there is also a greater chance for another team to get lucky without Red Bull advantage being enough to cover.

    The key advantage that is still valid for Red Bull is Max Verstappen who has been brutally consistence with near perfect Sunday performances but even the best athletes have bad days.

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