Las Vegas GP: A Chilly Surprise in the Desert

Features I By Justin Cornelison I November 13, 2023
Caesar's Palace Las Vegas GP

Formula 1 seems to have overlooked a crucial element when scheduling the late fall Las Vegas GP – the biting cold of a desert night in November. Ross Brawn, a key figure in Formula 1 Management until 2022, revealed that the series didn’t initially consider the temperature challenge that awaits teams and drivers on the iconic Las Vegas Strip.

Las Vegas GP Straight

Desert climates are renowned for their extreme temperature differentials between day and night. While the scorching sun dominates the daytime, the mercury takes a nosedive as the sun sets, bringing unexpected chilly conditions. Brawn’s revelation indicates that this natural phenomenon escaped the initial considerations when planning the high-profile night race.

Brawn’s candid statement highlights the oversight: “The one thing we hadn’t considered initially but the tire company have dealt with is it gets very, very cold at night. So when the race is happening, which is Saturday night, it has been known to drop down to three or four degrees.”

The Las Vegas GP, set to commence at 10 p.m. local time, poses a unique set of challenges for teams. The scheduling decision, aimed at catering to a European audience, means that the race kicks off at 1 a.m. on America’s East Coast. This timing exacerbates the temperature challenge, as the cool November air on the desert track makes it difficult for teams to achieve the optimal tire temperature.

Las Vegas GP Track

The Las Vegas GP race circuit, consisting of three long straights on the iconic Strip, will not known for its tire-warming capabilities. This presents a significant hurdle for Formula 1 teams, as the cold track will hamper the warming of tires, brakes, and power units. These elements are crucial for achieving the ideal operating conditions of the high-performance F1 cars.

Brawn acknowledged the hurdles: “The tire companies have done some work to make sure the tires can cope with that. We’re definitely facing some new challenges which we’ve never had before, but I think it’ll be spectacular.”

Formula 1 cars are finely tuned for optimal performance under specific conditions, and cool weather is not typically conducive to their peak race pace. As a result, spectators may witness an increased frequency of skids, slides, and lock-ups as the teams grapple with the unexpected challenge posed by the Las Vegas desert’s late autumn climate.

In the quest for a spectacular night race on the iconic Strip, Formula 1 finds itself navigating uncharted territory, discovering that even the most seasoned experts can be caught off guard by the nuances of nature. The Las Vegas GP promises to be a thrilling spectacle, not just for its iconic location but also for the unforeseen challenges that the chilly November desert night brings to the world of Formula 1.


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