Las Vegas Grand Prix Future in Doubt

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Amid much pre-race and practice run drama, 2023’s Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix was a resounding success as a sporting event and for the Nevada casinos of the Las Vegas Strip.

Before the race, eventual winner and world champion driver Max Verstappen criticized Las Vegas for its focus on show over racing.

“99% show, 1% sporting event,” the Dutchman said the week before the race. However, he was much more in the Las Vegas spirit after his thrilling comeback victory.

Verstappen sang along to Viva Las Vegas. Chugged champagne. And, most importantly for race organizers, he gave a ringing endorsement to the prospect of F1 returning to Las Vegas in the future.

“I hope they enjoyed it. We definitely did. I am already excited to come back here next year,” he said.

Officials at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) proudly talked last February of a three-year contract with Formula One, and Sin City has since spent tens of millions on race preparations.

Despite the protests of some local businesses and residents, in the eyes of most, it was a done deal.

But it has now come to light this week that there might be a turn in the tale before F1 racing can return to Las Vegas.

Never Signed a Contract

The revelations came from Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom.

He says that the 10-year agreement Clark County signed on the race last year contained no guarantees about any future events.

Organizers allowed it to pass with no guarantees in order to mass waive city ordinances for the race period, without the costly and time-intensive process of meeting over each one.

Segerblom has seen enough pushback from residents of his constituency that he wants more discussions before the race can be confirmed for next year.

“It turns out that we never signed a contract — that was all with the LVCVA,” he said, speaking to the Las Vegas Review-Journal over the weekend.

Segerblom voiced concerns about the disruptions to local businesses, aside from the giant casino resorts, and residents and visitors driving around the city.

That has included the recent expedition of the removal of a $23 million bridge constructed for the race, which has remained up until now despite local businesses saying it has drastically impacted their foot traffic.

“Can we cut back on the number of months that the town is torn up?” Segerblom said. “A lot of stuff happened, and I haven’t met anybody that likes Formula 1.”

Further Discussions

Officials for the LVCVA have previously said that any race in 2024 will have substantially less prep time, meaning less disruption. That’s because no new repaving will be required, and key infrastructure, like the $500 million paddock building, has already been made.

Organizers estimate the time can be shaved by two-thirds, from nine months to three.

A discussion was planned for next week between Clark County officials and race organizers. However, at Segerblom’s request, this has been delayed allowing the local public more time to comment on the issue.

The issue could be made even more contentious over the public funding agreed to put into the race. Formula One has already put up some $80 million for preparations, and has previously asked Clark County for half of that money back.

When asked about that, Segerblom was quite blunt.

“We haven’t agreed to anything,” he said.

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