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The debut of the Formula 1 race in Las Vegas, known as the Caesars Palace Grand Prix, unfolded in 1981.
This groundbreaking event was staged on a specially constructed temporary circuit in the parking lot of the Caesars Palace hotel and casino.
The track, while straightforward in its layout, was met with lukewarm responses due to its simplistic design, lacking the challenging turns and adrenaline-pumping excitement synonymous with Formula 1 racing. But what was the actual outcome of this initial Las Vegas F1 venture? Read on to find out.
The Outcome of the Initial Las Vegas F1 Grand Prix
The 1981 Formula 1 race in Las Vegas, hosted at the iconic Caesars Palace, was a pivotal moment in the history of motorsports.
It not only introduced the concept of F1-themed online casino gaming, where enthusiasts could immerse themselves in virtual racing experiences, but also witnessed Alan Jones of the Williams team secure a notable victory.
Despite this triumph, the race was subject to criticism from spectators and encountered numerous operational difficulties, which detracted from the event’s overall appeal.
These issues were not fully resolved by the subsequent race in 1982, won by Michele Alboreto driving for Tyrrell.
The key issues of these two races were:
- A lackluster track layout, which was criticized for its lack of complexity and excitement, failing to meet the high standards expected in Formula 1 races.
- The intense heat of the desert setting, creating a harsh and uncomfortable environment for both participants and spectators, thus impacting the quality of the racing experience.
- The location of the track lacked visual appeal and was insufficient to accommodate large crowds, resulting in a diminished interest among Formula 1 enthusiasts.
Due to these combined factors, the Las Vegas F1 Grand Prix in 1981 and 1982 did not achieve notable success and was subsequently discontinued after the 1982 season. The return of the Formula 1 to Las Vegas had to wait 40 years.
How the 2023 Las Vegas F1 Race Differs from the 1981 and 1982 Races
The 2023 Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix was held on a circuit very different from what we saw in the 80s. Back then, the race took place in the parking lot of the Caesars Palace, with 72 laps around a track that was just 3.647 kilometers long.
The new layout exceeds six kilometers, featuring several straights where speeds will surpass 340 kilometers per hour.
The circuit passes through the Las Vegas Strip, alongside some of the most significant buildings in Las Vegas: the Bellagio, the Flamingo, the Mirage, the Venetian, and other casinos and hotels in the city of sin.
Addressing the issue of extreme heat, a notable drawback in the past, the 2023 race took place at night.
Nighttime temperatures in Las Vegas, dropped as low as 4 degrees Celsius, offer a more comfortable weather environment, but brought a new challenge to keep the tires warmed up during the race day.
The race, won by Max Verstappen, was more successful than the two first races held in Las Vegas in the ‘80s, and is set to have nine more editions.
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