Welcome to our coverage for the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix. It is, technically, the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, though it is not the first grand prix in Las Vegas. In 1981 and 1982 there was the Caesars Palace Grand Prix which took place on a flat and uninspiring track that took over the car park for the famous Vegas hotel.
The signs and hopes were that Formula One had learned the lessons from that, investing huge money, resources and effort into what will be at least a decade of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, including a £327-million permanent pit building.
It did not go to plan earlier in the week, with the first practice session abandoned after just nine minutes and the second run to empty grandstands in the small hours of Friday morning. So much for the greatest show on earth.
Things have improved a little since then, though there are still questions over the organisers (F1, this time, rather than a separate promoter) and their treatment of the fans who were locked out of the 90-minute FP2 session. And questions over whether this is all worth it.
Those watching at home will probably find it difficult to differentiate from other street tracks which have races at night, like Singapore or in particular Jeddah. It’s only the wide shots where you get an actual feel of the track’s location. And the track itself? Okay, we haven’t raced on it yet but it has not been an instant hit with the drivers.
It has been refreshing to hear Max Verstappen speak his mind on the state of the “spectacle” in Nevada this weekend, and I am sure he speaks for many F1 fans across the world. Still, let’s give the race (if nothing else) a chance. Qualifying (a bit more on that in a moment) was certainly interesting, setting the race up (potentially nicely).
The race starts at 6am GMT so we’ve got just over an hour and a quarter until things are due to get under way.