The most anticipated event on F1’s 2023 calendar takes over Las Vegas’ iconic Strip this weekend.
F1 announced in March 2022 that it would stage the Las Vegas Grand Prix on and around the Strip beginning in November 2023. Since then, rapid construction on the nearly 4-mile track and garage facilities has taken place. A 1.4-mile stretch of Las Vegas Blvd., from the Palazzo south to Planet Hollywood will produce top-end speeds of more than 210 mph as the cars roar past numerous iconic resorts like the Flamingo, Caesars Palace, Bellagio and Planet Hollywood.
While it’s taken 19 months for the current iteration to get running, F1 has visited Las Vegas before – more than 40 years ago. Those races were held under the Caesar’s Palace Grand Prix moniker and contested on a tiny makeshift circuit in what was then the parking lot for the titular casino. It only lasted two years, in 1981 and 1982 with Alan Jones and Michele Alboreto, respectively, winning those events.
Here’s what to know ahead of the Las Vegas Grand Prix:
Las Vegas Grand Prix TV schedule
All times Eastern
12:30-1 a.m.: Opening Ceremony (ESPN2)
11:25 p.m.-12:30 a.m.: Free practice 1 (ESPN2, F1 TV Pro)
2:25 a.m.-3:30 a.m.: Free practice 2 (ESPN, F1 TV Pro)
11:25 p.m.-12:30 a.m.: Free practice 3 (ESPNU, F1 TV Pro)
2:25 a.m.-3:30 a.m.: Qualifying (ESPN, F1 TV Pro)
11:30 p.m.-12:55 a.m.: Pre-race show (ESPN, ESPN+)
12:55 – 3 a.m.: (ESPN, ESPN+, F1 TV Pro)
Las Vegas Grand Prix details
Track: Las Vegas Strip Circuit, 3.85-mile, 17-turn, counter-clockwise temporary street racing facility in Paradise, Nevada
Race length: 50 laps
Tire compounds: C3 (Hard), C4 (Medium), C5 (Soft)
Lap record: N/A, inaugural event
Las Vegas Grand Prix to feature opening ceremony
F1 being a true world tour, racing on five continents in 20 different countries, each Grand Prix takes on the characteristics of the host locale, and the United States is no different. The U.S. Grand Prix, held just outside of Austin, always has a uniquely out-sized Texan feel. The first two iterations of the Miami Grand Prix have similarly taken on a fluorescent South Beach motif.
Do you really think the self-styled Entertainment Capital of the World would just mail it in? Las Vegas is staging an opening ceremony that will be televised on ESPN2 (12:30 a.m. ET, Friday), featuring performances from Steve Aoki, Journey, Keith Urban, Bishop Briggs, J Balvin, Thirty Seconds to Mars, will.i.am, Cirque du Soleil and the Blue Man Group. The ceremony will conclude with introductions for all 20 drivers.
Top drivers and best bets for the Las Vegas Grand Prix
Max Verstappen is in the midst of the most dominant F1 racing season ever and is understandably a massive favorite in Las Vegas according to BetMGM. Every $3 bet on Verstappen will yield just $1 while the next best odds belong to Lando Norris and the resurgent McLaren car at 8-to-1. And Norris’ odds are at least twice as favorable as the rest of the field.
Best odds to win
• Max Verstappen, Red Bull-RBPT -300
• Lando Norris, McLaren-Mercedes +800
• Charles Leclerc, Ferrari +1600
• Sergio Perez, Red Bull-RBPT +1600
• Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari +1600
2023 F1 drivers’ standings
1. Max Verstappen (1), Red Bull-Honda RBPT – 524*
2. Sergio Perez (11), Red Bull-Honda RBPT – 258
3. Lewis Hamilton (44), Mercedes – 226
4. Fernando Alonso (14), Aston Martin-Mercedes – 198
5. Lando Norris (4), McLaren-Mercedes – 195
6. Carlos Sainz (55), Ferrari – 192
7. Charles Leclerc (16), Ferrari – 170
8. George Russell (63), Mercedes – 156
9. Oscar Piastri (81), McLaren-Mercedes – 87
10. Lance Stroll (18), Aston Martin-Mercedes – 63
11. Pierre Gasly (10), Alpine-Renault – 62
12. Esteban Ocon (31), Alpine-Renault – 46
13. Alexander Albon (23), Williams-Mercedes – 27
14. Yuki Tsunoda (22), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT – 13
15. Valtteri Bottas (77), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari – 10
16. Nico Hülkenberg, (27), Haas-Ferrari – 9
17. Daniel Ricciardo (3), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT – 6
18. Zhou Guanyu (24), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari – 6
19. Kevin Magnussen (20), Haas-Ferrari – 3
20. Liam Lawson (40), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT – 2
21. Logan Sargeant (2), Williams-Mercedes – 1
22. Nyck De Vries (21), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT – 0
* — Clinched world championship
Las Vegas Grand Prix weather
It’s going to be cold, and it appears this has caught F1 off-guard. The forecast calls for cool temperatures in the 50s for the hours that cars will be on track, which is roughly between 8:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. local Thursday-Sunday, and a 53% chance of precipitation Friday and Saturday.
With tire temperature being so vital to the performance of a Formula 1 car, drastically cooler conditions than normal – on a track surface that has never been raced upon – will present a massive challenge for the drivers. Their challenge will be to bring the tires into their optimal operating window in temperatures that are going to be at least 20 degrees fahrenheit colder than they are used to.