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The American owners of Formula One have issued a public apology to the City of Las Vegas for the disruption caused by the construction of a Grand Prix circuit in the heart of the city.
Las Vegas will stage a Formula One Grand Prix for the first time since 1982 on Saturday evening local time. But whereas the previous events were held on a purpose-built circuit on the outskirts of the city, the new race will be contested in the epicentre of the USA’s gambling capital with a home straight that runs right through the famous Las Vegas Boulevard, flanked by the tourist hotspot’s most famous hotels and casinos.
It has taken more than nine months to complete the street circuit in readiness for this weekend’s showpiece event with roads resurfaced and the complex construction of a pit lane, full paddock and hospitality buildings.
Formula One was bought by Liberty Media in 2017. CEO Greg Maffei said: “I want to apologise to all the Las Vegas residents and we appreciate that they have their forbearance and their willingness to tolerate us.”
The F1 supremo followed up his apology by pointing out the benefits of staging the race in such an iconic location, regardless of the disruption it has caused to residents, workers and tourists.
He added: “We’re going to bring something like $1.7 billion of revenue to the area. So it’s not just for the benefit of fans who want to view. We hope this is a great economic benefit in Las Vegas. We hope this is the most difficult year with all the construction that went on and things will be easier in the future.”
The 1982 Las Vegas Grand Prix was held in the substantial car park of the Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino but the 2023 vintage will take in almost every landmark that the city has to offer.
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The 6.2km circuit has 17 turns and was designed by Tilke Engineers & Architects who were founded by former racing driver Hermann Tilke. Tilke has designed several F1 circuits including the Circuit of the Americas, the Red Bull Ring and the Marina Bay Street Circuit, but it is his son Carsten Tilke, who is the brains behind the Las Vegas track.
Holding the race on open streets has presented organisers and the city with a broad range of issues, with roads set to be closed to the public from 5pm on each of the three days the event will be staged.
Las Vegas has also had to contend with industrial action from its hospitality workers who have been campaigning for higher pay and better working conditions.
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