Report: F1 considering return to Vegas in the near future

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Formula 1 could be set to return to Las Vegas in the near future, with a grand prix being planned on The Strip as the sport’s growth in the United States continues.

According to a report by The Independent‘s Christian Sylt, Bernie Ecclestone has said that officials in Las Vegas are keen on bringing the race back to the resort, some 32 years after the last Caesars Palace Grand Prix was held there.

“Vegas say they are ready to go and it would be on The Strip for sure,” F1 supremo Ecclestone is quoted as saying. Sylt also writes that F1 track designer Hermann Tilke has already visited the site to draw up plans.

Formula 1’s flirtation with the American market has been a long-running one, with the troubled relationship appearing to be something of the past now thanks to the success of the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

Plans for a second race in the US in New Jersey appear to have stalled, with the Grand Prix of America not even making the 2015 draft calendar. Ecclestone has said in the past that a race at Long Beach could also be a viable option, but Las Vegas has now emerged as a surprise option and contender.

The sport last visited Nevada back in 1982 for the Caesars Palace Grand Prix, which was held on a temporary circuit in the car park of the famous casino. However, it was not a success, dropping off the calendar after just two years, with CART picking up the contract before also backing out at the end of 1984.

Formula 1’s nature and outlook has changed dramatically since its last spin of the roulette wheel in Vegas, though. Those were the early days of its expansionsm, with the race at Caesars Palace one of just six outside of Europe. Nowadays, the flyaways outnumber those in mainland Europe.

For Ecclestone, Vegas will be a very different prospect this time around. In the days where every single session is broadcast live on TV and the going ons in the paddock being tweeted by the second, it would look to be a big glamor event, much like Monaco, Singapore and Abu Dhabi are.

Of course, this does underestimate the enormous logistical challenge, which would be greater than we have ever seen in F1. A street race in the middle of Vegas is a very tall order indeed, surpassing that of Singapore.

However, it does once again show where the sport is heading: anywhere and everywhere that has the money and the location to host a grand prix. As the teams contemplate a 20-race calendar for 2015, don’t go thinking that Ecclestone has any plans of stopping at that figure.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”