As the dust settles on the Las Vegas GP, a race as glittering and controversial as the city itself, voices from the Formula 1 fraternity resonate with a mix of criticism and hope. Fernando Alonso, F1’s seasoned Spanish samurai, offers a balanced view on the event that has sparked debates and lawsuits alike.
Aligning somewhat with triple world champion Max Verstappen’s vocal criticisms, the 42-year-old acknowledges the challenges of the circuit. “We have to find a balance,” he says, noting the difficulties of marrying such high speeds with the fabled Las Vegas Strip. “360kph, no grip, no visibility, all the bouncing. Terrible,” Alonso describes, highlighting the disparity between the cars’ design for tracks like Barcelona and Silverstone and the reality of navigating the city’s tight corners. Yet, he refrains from echoing Verstappen’s broader complaints, instead choosing to commend the organization of the race. “The race was well organised,” Alonso asserts, though he suggests that the late schedule was taxing for all involved.
“Perhaps the schedule was too late for the mechanics, for the press, for the drivers. But I think the second year will be much better. That’s what happened in Miami,” Alonso said. “There are things to improve here, but I think in general it was a good event.”
The Las Vegas GP wasn’t just a challenge for the drivers. Spectators, too, faced their share of woes, with some launching a class-action lawsuit over being ejected at an ungodly 1.30am due to the manhole cover delay. Their compensation, a mere $200 merchandise voucher, added fuel to the fire of discontent. Renee Wilm, the Las Vegas GP CEO, admits to the shortcomings in communication and acknowledges the event’s impact on the local community. The steep ticket prices, which alienated many residents, are a point of contention she plans to address. “I think we want to add more general admission ticketing,” Wilm states, indicating a move towards inclusivity for the next year.
Wilm also doesn’t shy away from considering changes to the event’s timing, potentially aligning with Alonso’s suggestions. “Would we look to tweak the timing of some of the practice rounds or qualifying? Possibly,” she reveals, showing a willingness to adapt and evolve.
“I think we could have done a much better job communicating, particularly with all the local residents,” she told AP news agency. “We really were a start-up with a very small team that was working in a very short amount of time.”