It’s Race Week: 5 stories we’re excited about ahead of the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix

It’s Race Week: 5 stories we’re excited about ahead of the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix

The newest addition to the Formula 1 calendar has finally arrived and is undoubtedly one of the most exciting locations to race. With the final two rounds of the season underway in the United States, here are some of the topics we think will be discussed in Las Vegas.

It’s Vegas, baby!

You’ll probably be tired of hearing about it by the end of the week, but there’s a lot of excitement for Formula 1 heading to Sin City, specifically Las Vegas Boulevard – or The Strip as it’s more commonly known.

Trying to pull off this race has been a huge undertaking, and it’s sure to be a spectacle thanks to the location. The racing between the famous resorts that will be lit up in all its glory on Saturday night will look epic, and as you can imagine, there is a lot going on around the racing itself too.

Barreto: Why the Las Vegas Grand Prix could be the greatest show on Earth

It will all officially kick off with the opening ceremony on Wednesday evening – featuring a long list of legends from the world of music alongside the drivers themselves – before the track hits the track on Thursday evening ahead of Saturday night racing.

open! Layout of the new F1 Las Vegas circuit

A track with racing in mind

As amazing as the location of the Las Vegas track is, the track design also had good racing as one of its priorities throughout the planning phase.

The pit and paddock complex was built specifically just for this race, and will provide a stadium-like feel for the opening portion of the lap. But then comes a long line straight into the field – another stunning feature of the site – and this is where the first DRS zone is set to be which will provide plenty of overtaking opportunities in the braking zone at Turn Five.

Palmer: How do Formula 1 drivers prepare for a brand new race like Las Vegas?

From there, a technical section and a wide, wide curve lead to Turn 12 and a left turn to The Strip, where there is a flat track over a mile – and nearly two kilometers – through the slight chicane at Turn 13 before Turn 13. Hard braking in the three turns at Turn 14- 16.

This layout is set to see top speeds that can rival the Monza, but should also mean plenty of overtaking opportunities either using DRS or on the brakes at the end of the two long straights. The first turn can see a lot of excitement as well.

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 05: George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes drive down the road

The Las Vegas Strip circuit will span an array of iconic buildings and locations

Driver battles rage

As we approach the end of the season, the battle for the final places has become more intense, with only Abu Dhabi close behind Las Vegas.

Second place looks safer for Sergio Perez after Interlagos, but that was a surprisingly uncompetitive weekend for Mercedes – and if they return to the form they were at before Brazil, Lewis Hamilton will be hoping to close the gap again to keep the outcome uncertain. Heading to the final race.

Read more: Ferrari unveils special livery for Las Vegas Grand Prix in nod to ‘golden era’ of the 1970s

With the gap currently standing at 32 points, anything less than Hamilton edging Perez by seven points will guarantee Mexico a second-place finish (if they finish the season tied, Perez will come out on top thanks to his two wins this year).

But Hamilton also has to be wary of two up-and-coming drivers, Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris. Alonso looked a real threat to second overall until the latter part of the season as Aston Martin’s form faded, but a third-place finish in Brazil moved him a little closer again, while Norris has finished second six times in the last 11 races.


Perez is trying to fend off Hamilton in the struggle for second place in the drivers’ standings

Constructors’ Championship substitutions

Also unsurprisingly, the Alonso and Norris references above point to Aston Martin and McLaren being two teams to keep an eye on. The battle for fourth place between the two teams has seemed to go only one way in recent races, but Aston Martin’s excellent response in Brazil has added to the excitement.

In fact, McLaren edged Aston by one point at Interlagos, but it was a showcase of what Alonso and Lance Stroll can do when the car is in working order, and their straight-line speed was impressive, which will be needed again. McLaren has been strong almost everywhere since it updated its car in Austria and added to it in Singapore, but Las Vegas is unknown to everyone.

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It’s a closer battle for second place in the Constructors’ Championship, with Mercedes leading Ferrari by 20 points heading into the final two rounds, but with the gap slowly but surely closing since the summer break. Ferrari felt there were points left on the table in the final race after Charles Leclerc was unable to start, but their form since August suggests the competition is set to go straight to the final round.

But there is a lot at stake at the top and bottom of the grid, with AlphaTauri’s latest performance closing the gap on Williams in seventh to just seven points. But Williams has earmarked Vegas as a place they can be strong, so it could be a pivotal weekend in that battle as well.


Meanwhile, just 20 points separate Mercedes and Ferrari in the constructors’ battle

Netflix Cup

The Drivers and Constructors’ Championships aren’t the only competitive battles to keep an eye on this week either.

On Tuesday afternoon, four drivers will likely feel more nervous than they do before a race when they team up with golf pros to compete in the inaugural Netflix Cup, the first sporting event to be streamed live on Netflix.

Read more: Everything you need to know about the Netflix Cup – confirmed pairings, timing and how to watch

Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon will team up with one of four professionals – Rickie Fowler, Colin Morikawa, Max Homa and Justin Thomas – in the match tournament at Wynn Golf Club.

Interstellar conjunction Driving to survive With the Netflix golf documentary In full swingIt is an eight-hole match, with the top two teams then advancing to the final ninth hole to determine the winners.

This means that rivalries will already be building up long before any track starts. But the winning driver will also likely make sure everyone knows about his success for the remainder of the weekend.

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