Formula One will race Las Vegas Strip in 2023

Formula One
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Formula One is all-in on the United States with a race on the Las Vegas Strip added to the 2023 F1 calendar as the most glamorous motorsports series in the world continues to expand its North American footprint.

The Bellagio, Caesars Palace and the MSG Sphere will be among the landmarks along the temporary street course built for a Saturday night race in November 2023. The race is a first for F1 in that the series will promote the event alongside Liberty Media Corp., the American parent company of F1.

The Las Vegas race will be the third stop in the United States next season for F1, which has raced at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, since 2012 and in May will make its debut in Miami. Barring any shake-ups, existing races in Mexico City and Montreal will bring F1 to North America five times next season.

“Iconic Las Vegas and Formula 1, the pinnacle of motorsport, is the perfect marriage of speed and glamour,” said Greg Maffei, President and CEO of Liberty Media. “Our confidence in this unique opportunity is evident in our decision to assume the promoter role for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

“The potential of Formula 1 has been well demonstrated over the last several seasons and the Las Vegas GP will only take it to the next level.”

Speculation surrounding a third race in Las Vegas that utilized the world famous Strip has swirled for more than a year and was at last confirmed Wednesday night in a lavish announcement made at the rooftop pool of The Cosmopolitan Hotel. Liberty acquired F1 in 2017 and has steadily grown the brand in the U.S. through its marketing of the series and the wildly popular Netflix docuseries “Drive to Survive.”

The fourth season of “DTS” dropped earlier this month just ahead of F1′s season-opener in Bahrain, the first of back-to-back races held in the Middle East. F1 has been under scrutiny for some of those deals because of dubious human rights records in some of the host countries.

So it was a rocky return to Saudi Arabia for F1 last weekend when Yemen rebels attacked an oil depot during the first practice session on Friday. Smoke and flames could be seen in the backdrop of the racetrack as the oil depot was located only 11 kilometers (seven miles) from the racetrack.

Drivers met for more than four hours to determine if they were comfortable continuing with Sunday’s race, which ultimately went off incident-free.

Still, F1 has been accused of overlooking serious human rights violations while collecting hefty sanctioning fees from the host nations. But in the case of the Las Vegas race, it will be F1 and Liberty backing the event.

Formula One

F1 and Liberty are also partnering with Live Nation Entertainment and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority on the race. The “founding partners” announced Wednesday night were Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Las Vegas.

MSG Sphere, Resorts World Las Vegas and The Venetian Resort were announced as presenting sponsors.

“This is an incredible moment for Formula 1 that demonstrates the huge appeal and growth of our sport with a third race in the U.S.,” said Stefano Domenicali, the CEO of F1. “Las Vegas is a destination known around the world for its excitement, hospitality, thrills, and of course, the famous Strip. There is no better place for Formula 1 to race than in the global entertainment capital of the world and we cannot wait to be here next year.”

No date was given for the November race, but the Saturday night after Thanksgiving has been discussed. The 50-lap race is expected to stretch a street course that runs 3.8-miles. The circuit revealed Wednesday night included three main straights, 14 corners that includes a high-speed cornering sequence, and a single chicane section.

COTA drew more than 300,000 spectators to its three-day weekend last October and track president Bobby Epstein said the addition of Las Vegas to the F1 calendar shouldn’t dilute his event.

“There’s plenty to sustain this sport. What I like about what F1 is doing and what I think the fans will realize, is that each event is very different from the other and will be very unique,” Epstein told The Associated Press.

“The other US races are going to be more about the city and the destination, and ours is going to be more about the event itself. I’m excited to go to Vegas, not just for F1, but because the city has so much more entertainment, outside and away from whatever the track will be. If I’m already a regular Vegas visitor, it will be more a question of am I choosing to go to F1 this year and not March Madness or a heavyweight fight?”

Lessons learned in three rounds of Extreme E pay huge dividends in the Copper X Prix for Tanner Foust

Foust Copper X Prix
McLaren Racing
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To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long, unique trip it’s been for Tanner Foust in his first season with the Extreme E series as he took his early season lessons to Chile to compete in the Copper X Prix. And he’s learned his lessons well.

In February, McLaren announced they would expand their motorsports program with an Extreme E entry. They signed two talented rally drivers in Foust and Emma Gilmour – and paired them for the opening round in Neom, Saudi Arabia with just a few days of testing under their belts. Baked by the Arabian desert sun, it was trial by fire.

The duo performed well in their debut, advancing into the final round and finishing fifth. As Extreme E headed to another desert halfway across the globe for Round 4, it was a good time to catch up with Foust and ask about McLaren’s progress. The Copper X Prix was held this past weekend in one of the most extreme regions in the world: the Atacama Desert.

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“The shock going into the first race was the speed,” Foust told NBC Sports. “It was much higher than we had tested. We spent a lot of time around 100 miles per hour [in race trim] and our testing speeds were more in the 60 to 70-mile range. Then, once we sort of got around that, the car got updated so you can drive it even faster.”

In rally racing, some incidents are out of a driver’s control. Even peeking around another car can be dangerous because of potholes that have recently been gouged in the ground or large bushes that seem to sprout up between laps. A couple of rollovers brought Foust back to earth – but the pace was there and that was important.

“We had some challenges this season,” Foust said prior to the Copper X Prix. “We had a good start; made the final, which is a difficult thing to do in this series. I had two rolls in the first three events, but I have improved each time. Now we come into Round 4 in Chile in a pretty strong position. We have competitive times as a team. We are communicating really well and have our heads around this Odyssey vehicle.”

Foust’s words proved to be prophetic.

He won the Crazy Race – Extreme E’s version of a Last Chance Qualifier – and did so after passing the field. It was the same manner in which he qualified for Saudi Arabia’s finale, but this time things would be better. There were those hard-earned lessons on which to lean – and Foust had reps under his belt. He was not going to be caught off guard by any random obstacles.

Tanner Foust passed Sebastien Loeb heading to the Switch Zone in the Copper X Prix. (Photo by Sam Bagnall / LAT Images)

In the Copper X Prix finale, he pressured one of the best rally drivers in the history of the sport.

Pitching sideways through a tight left-hander late in his stint, Foust put his McLaren Extreme E Odyssey at the head of the pack in front of Sebastien Loeb as they headed to the Switch Zone. There, he would turn the car over to his co-driver Gilmour.

The Extreme E series pairs male and female drivers with both taking a turn behind the wheel.

After the driver change, Gilmour lost the lead momentarily to Loeb’s teammate Cristina Gutierrez, but as they charged toward the finish line, she surged ahead and crossed under the checkers first.

“What an improvement for the team over this year,” Foust said after the race. “We have struggled through some of the events, being in our first year in competition. We showed true pace this weekend; overtaking Sebastien Loeb was a highlight.

“Emma put in a great run in the Final. I was fortunate to go from last to first in the Crazy Race and then first in the Final but with some flag penalties, we had 20 seconds added to our time, which put us into fifth. It was a great feeling crossing the line first, I love this wide style track and the NEOM McLaren Odyssey was fantastic here.

“Hopefully we can continue that momentum into Uruguay.”

Loeb and Gutierrez were elevated to the top of the podium, but no one can take away the feeling of crossing under the checkers first.


Racing Responsibly

Since cars were first invented, racing has played a socially responsible role by improving safety. As Earth reaches a tipping point with climate change, racing needs to adapt to these new needs and requirements, which is where Extreme E’s unique strategy becomes increasingly important.

The Extreme E experience is more than simple racing. Each race is accompanied by a legacy program designed to offset damage done by climate change and to erase the footprint caused by the events.

Foust, a biology major from the University of Colorado, was given the chance to rekindle his interest and give back to the environment ahead of the Copper X Prix.

The Atacama is the oldest desert in the world at 150 million years. It is the driest place on earth and has the highest degree of ultraviolet light. And yet somehow life perseveres through underground rivers with oases dating back to Incan times. Foust participated in preparing a local habitat for the reintroduction of a critically endangered water frog to Chile’s longest river, the Loa, which snakes its way through the desert.

“I’m loving the experience,” Foust said. “I’m putting on a lot of Chapstick, a lot of sunscreen. What a fascinating part of the world. I never would have come here otherwise.

“I honestly am very honored to be a part of this sport. I am a huge believer in the fact that motorsports has done us good in the last 100 years. I think we benefit every single time we put our seatbelts on and drive down the road to the lessons learned in racing since the turn of the century. And I really hope motorsports continues that tradition.

“I think that motorsports like [Extreme E] does it in a responsible way, a gender-neutral way and a carbon-neutral way.”