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Las Vegas Grand Prix 2023

The success of Las Vegas poses uncomfortable questions for Monaco

Once the Las Vegas Grand Prix settled down, it was an on-track success, with F1 also firmly putting roots down in Sin City. Once upon a time, Monaco was considered untouchable, but Las Vegas will pose questions.

Las Vegas
To news overview © XPBimages

All things considered, the Las Vegas Grand Prix went well, with a few crinkles to iron out, but for a brand-new circuit, that is nothing out of the ordinary.

As Toto Wolff passionately explained less than an hour after the drain incidents that led to Free Practice 1 being abandoned before the chaos of Free Practice 2, incidents with drains on street circuits are nothing new.

It was just a considerable misfortune that after pumping hundreds of millions of its own money into the race, F1 was left with a rather sizeable amount of egg on its face. Fortunately, the weekend settled down into a thrilling Grand Prix with five lead changes and 82 on-track overtakes.

So, with some minor tweaks to the track, F1 seems to have found itself a street circuit it can run with, and throw in the fact that Vegas is awash with commercial deal and high-rollers, then just what is the point of Monaco?

Monaco has questions

The cliche that Monaco is "the jewel in the crown" of Formula 1 is as jarring as it is wrong. Certainly years ago, all those executives and suits wanted to see, and perhaps more pertinently be seen in Monte Carlo.

Monaco does posses one of the most iconic back-drops to any sporting event in the world, in the harbour. Anyone with even a passing interest in sport has heard of The Monaco Grand Prix.

But that jewel is starting to look a little second-hand. F1 cars out-grew Monaco years ago and the racing spectacle is non-existent these days. That is not to say the total event is a dud, with qualifying usually one of the highlights of the season, as Q3 was this year, but can the fact that the best action of the Grand Prix weekend is actually qualifying be squared these days?

Maybe not.

But some privileges Monaco was granted under Bernie Ecclestone had been wiped away as the track was dragged into the modern era.

Thursday practice has been done away with, as has Monaco producing the world feed in-house. Friday practice and FOM control have taken their place.

Bluntly, simply being the Monaco Grand Prix is not a good enough reason to warrant a place on the calendar, especially when plenty of other countries are willing to open their chequebooks to lure F1 to town.

Article continues below.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

There are still a few rough edges for Vegas to sort, such as the scheduling with the race effectively being a Japanese Grand Prix in the western United States.

Of all the new races added to the calendar 2017, Las Vegas feels the most 'Liberty Media.'

A race through the centre of one of the most famous and iconic cities in the world, at night is inescapable, and it is something you can actually imagine Formula 1 doing.

Racing in Monaco these days as a fresh idea would be laughed out of the room, but a race in Vegas down the Strip? That is something that seems feasible and one that makes sense.

An F1 calendar without the Monaco Grand Prix (2020 and COVID excepted), feels unthinkable.

It is part of the fabric of Grand Prix racing, and dropping it would seem sacrilege given the history of Senna, Hill, Schumacher and all the other greats.

But it does feel like a relic from the past and when Las Vegas gets it right, it feels like the modern-day Monaco. That is something the Principality must get to grips with.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

F1 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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