What is the coldest Formula 1 race ever?

What is the coldest Formula 1 race ever?

As Formula 1 prepares to return to Las Vegas for the first time in four decades, much of the pre-race conversation is dominated by how cold the Grand Prix is.

Early forecasts indicate that temperatures could drop to 6°C/43°F over the weekend. Don’t forget that it’s a night race, so the warmer daytime temperatures that the Nevada desert has will quickly disappear when the cars take to the track.

This will be a far cry from our previous visit to the Entertainment Capital of the World, where the 1981 and 1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix races were held in sweltering heat, with many drivers suffering from heat exhaustion.

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These lower temperatures, combined with the new track surface, are something Pirelli motorsport director Mario Isola admits will create an interesting challenge for the teams.

“It’s a step into the unknown, for everyone I think,” Isola shared in Brazil last weekend.

“Las Vegas is going to be cold, it’s a street circuit…. We decided to use the three softest compounds in the group to try to generate grip. I can imagine a lot of track development and very low-profile grip.

“But it’s a big unknown. Fast track, long straights, high speed, all conditions that are difficult to manage.”

Nicholas Latifi takes to the track at the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix in wintry conditions, but this wasn’t the coldest race ever…

Visits to Germany’s Nürburgring and Turkey’s Istanbul Park during the pandemic-hit 2020 season saw temperatures rise slightly above 10°C/50°F, but they were a far cry from the coldest Grand Prix temperatures ever recorded.

The title of “Coldest Race in Formula 1” dates back to the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix, the closest race of the season, held in Montreal in early October.

The drivers were racing in temperatures as low as 5°C/41°F, and the podium trio were wearing winter jackets as snow and sleet fell.

We had one car competing on that cold day, with Alan Jones racing to ninth in his FW06, also setting the fastest lap – a 1:38.072 recorded on the final lap.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Formula 1 never raced in Canada during October again.

Alan Jones, pictured with Sir Patrick Head, finished ninth in the coldest race in Formula One history

*Main photo of Alan Jones in the FW06 at the US Eastern Grand Prix, one round before the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix.

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