Formula 1’s new race in Las Vegas had to put American-based fans first, leading to its Saturday night slot, according to the sport’s CEO and president Stefano Domenicali.
Las Vegas will join the F1 calendar in 2023 with a race to be held on a Saturday night in November, on a circuit that takes in a number of iconic landmarks using the famous Strip. Speaking at the launch announcement on the Cosmopolitan rooftop overlooking part of the track, Domenicali said getting the race in the ideal location at the best time for the U.S. market was a key consideration.
“I think that it’s the perfect time and perfect slot for the event in this context,” Domenicali said. “Formula 1 cannot be static. You know, we are showing the fact that to be in such a position to have a race on a Saturday at 3 o’clock would be a total mistake. That’s the reason why we are flexible, that it’s the right moment to have the best show in this context.
“Actually, in terms of timing in Europe, the racing time we’ve decided is 10 p.m. on Saturday night. It’s perfect, because also that audience will be connected. But if we could have done even earlier or later, everyone will be connected that night with Las Vegas, there’s no doubt.”
With the location so central to the new race, Domenicali says the aim for F1 was to combine a track that would deliver great racing alongside an amazing visual backdrop.
“At the end of the day we are a sport that needs to make sure that the racing is real. But adding the real racing in an incredible context is the perfect combination of what Formula 1 stands for today. It’s emotion, it’s passion, it’s business, it’s relationships, it’s culture and it’s intensity. This is the reason why this the perfect place to be.”
While the third race in the U.S. has been added before the Miami Grand Prix has even taken place, the F1 CEO is confident it is not at risk of over-saturating the market in the States.
“It’s not dilution, it’s an added value for everyone, because we are hitting different targets in terms of demographics, in terms of locations,” he said. “And the beauty of the growth of our sport in this country is we are getting a lot of young people that are starting to be thrilled by our sport.
“You see our guys, the drivers, very young — they have the responsibility of sharing through their social channels who they are, promoting our sport, and I think through them there will be a great connection to develop the sport in the right dimension.”
Domenicali also confirmed the race will run from 2023 until 2025 initially, but is targeting a much longer stay in the city.
“The contract so far has been settled for three years but the plan is to stay longer … This is Las Vegas!”