14th November 2023, 09:38
F1 apologises to Las Vegas for disruption caused by new night race
The CEO of Formula One’s owners 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.
Las Vegas will host its first F1 race for over 40 years on Saturday and for the first time it will run down the Strip in the centre of the city. Work on the project has been ongoing for over nine months and has included resurfacing of the roads that will make up the track, and building of an extensive and permanent pit and paddock complex.
A general view of the circuit prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Las Vegas.
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The process has been far from painless and is on-going. Traffic on the Strip – Las Vegas Boulevard – has already been reduced to a torturously slow crawl, while pedestrians are being funnelled along narrowed and curtailed walkways because of the limitations partly imposed by the manufacture of the track. When the cars take to the circuit, access to many areas, particularly hotels on the Strip alongside the circuit, will be limited.
F1 and city authorities have put extensive plans in place to try and minimise disruption but Maffei acknowledged the problematic issues that came with staging the event.
“I want to apologise to all the Las Vegas residents and we appreciate that they have their forbearance and their willingness to tolerate us,” he said. “We’re going to bring something like $1.7bn of revenue to the area. So it’s not just for the benefit of fans who want to view. We hope this is a great economic benefit in Las Vegas. We hope this is the most difficult year with all the construction that went on and things will be easier in the future.”
Early November is traditionally a quieter time for Las Vegas but the city is demonstrably filling up with race fans. Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes tops are increasingly apparent on the tables and slots of the casinos but the additional visitors – 105,000 are expected to attend the race alone – all have to be catered for.
Of particular concern is the ability to access workplaces. The city has a plan in place for Thursday, Friday and Saturday when the track is live that includes the provision by resorts of remote employee parking and transportation to Strip hotels, and a more extensive use of the Las Vegas monorail.
However resort workers remain unconvinced. Two expressed grave doubts to the Guardian that the system would work, but declined to be named. One employee of the Venetian told Fox 5 Vegas he feared a 20-minute commute would be extended to two hours.
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