Formula One extends their apologies to Las Vegas for any inconvenience caused by the implementation of the new night race.
The chief executive of Formula One’s owner Liberty Media, Greg Maffei, has issued an apology for the disruption brought to Las Vegas, after workers expressed disquiet over the impact the sport has had on infrastructure.
On Saturday, Las Vegas will hold its inaugural F1 race in over four decades. This will be the first time the race will take place down the Strip, located in the heart of the city. The development of this project has been in progress for over nine months and has involved repairing the roads that will serve as the track, as well as constructing a large and permanent pit and paddock area.
The experience has been anything but easy. The flow of cars on Las Vegas Boulevard, also known as the Strip, has slowed down significantly, while pedestrians are being directed through narrower and restricted walkways due to the limitations caused by the construction of the track. Once the cars start racing on the circuit, access to certain areas, especially hotels along the Strip, will be restricted.
The organizers of F1 and the local government have implemented thorough strategies to reduce the impact of any disruptions, but Maffei acknowledged the challenges that come with hosting such an event.
The speaker expressed his apologies to the citizens of Las Vegas and expressed gratitude for their patience and acceptance of the situation. He stated that the event will bring in approximately $1.7 billion in revenue to the area, benefiting not only fans but also providing economic benefits to Las Vegas. He acknowledged that the current year may be challenging due to ongoing construction, but looks forward to smoother operations in the future.
Typically, the beginning of November is a calmer period for Las Vegas. However, the city is noticeably becoming more crowded with fans of racing. The logos of Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes are becoming more prominent on the casino tables and slot machines. With an estimated 105,000 people attending the race alone, the city must accommodate all of the additional visitors.
One area of focus is the issue of gaining entry to places of work. The city has a strategy in effect for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday during the operation of the track, which involves resorts providing off-site parking for employees and transportation to hotels on the Strip. Additionally, there will be an increased utilization of the Las Vegas monorail.
Nevertheless, employees at the resort are still doubtful. Two individuals shared serious concerns with the Guardian about the effectiveness of the system, but chose not to disclose their names. Another worker at the Venetian confided to Fox 5 Vegas that they were worried their current 20-minute commute would turn into a two-hour one.
Ian Rineer, a resident and employee of Las Vegas for two decades, expressed skepticism towards the city’s interest in Formula One. He stated, “We are cautious. While we appreciate large-scale events and the influx of money they bring, we are unsure of the benefits F1 will bring.” Rineer added that with it being the inaugural year and the uncertainties surrounding the process, there is a general sense of unease within the community.
Rineer, a tour guide for the Grand Canyon and a resident of the downtown Fremont East district, acknowledged that solely blaming F1 for the traffic issues was not entirely just. He noted that the traffic around Allegiant Stadium, where the Super Bowl will take place in 2024, is also problematic as the city adjusts to having a large venue at its center.
“We are witnessing the development of our city,” he stated. “Prior to the pandemic, we did not have a significant stadium, but now with the addition of Allegiant Stadium [the home of the Las Vegas Raiders], we have stepped into the big leagues. While Las Vegas is maturing as a city, there are inevitable challenges that come with this growth.”
It is still uncertain if F1 has officially announced a sellout for the race. Maffei also had to address backlash from the public regarding the pricey tickets, explaining that high demand and hotels requiring a five-night minimum stay have contributed to the costs. The least expensive grandstand seat was priced at $1500, while packages at Strip venues started at around $5,000 and could go up to a whopping $5 million at Caesars Palace.
In Las Vegas, the success of the race will be determined more by its influence on raising awareness of the sport in both the US and worldwide, rather than just ticket sales. However, the citizens of the city itself will use a simple measure to evaluate the impact of F1 when it leaves.
According to Rineer, our town is simple and our main focus is on making money. As a server or bartender, that’s how we will determine if this will benefit us financially. Many of us rely on cash and tips to sustain ourselves.
Despite any obstacles, he maintains hope that the sport will be embraced by the people of the Las Vegas Valley. He expressed his love for F1 and his admiration for driver Lando Norris and the McLaren team. He hopes that after the initial challenges, the event will run seamlessly and showcase the greatness of Formula 1. As the biggest racing event in the world, he believes that they have the capability to successfully host it in their city.