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.