Practice on Thursday, qualifying at midnight and race on Saturday. The Las Vegas Grand Prix will be very special.
The opening photo is from this April. At the time, the Las Vegas circuit was still a construction site. But now everything is ready for the return of Formula 1.
F1 raced in Las Vegas twice in 1981 and 1982 on a circuit that was actually built in the parking lot of Caesars Palace. It was only 3.6 km long and 75 laps were used, so it was not even the full 300 km.
The current circuit, on the other hand, will be one of the above-average lengths. More than 6.2 kilometers and 50 laps await the rider, which means that he will ride 310.5 km. Las Vegas will be the second longest circuit on the calendar after Spa.
Circuit in Las Vegas.
Photo: Hmdwgf, CC BY-SA 4.0
The race in 1982 had serial number 373. This year’s will be granx prix number 1100. Thus, F1 is returning to Las Vegas after 726 races.
The start of the race is scheduled for Sunday at 7:00 a.m. our time. At that time, however, it will still be Saturday in Las Vegas at 10:00 p.m. If we don’t see a red flag, the whole race should go on Saturday.
Starting the race so late is unique. In F1 we do have night races, but until now we could rather use the term evening race for them. Even in Singapore it starts at 20:00 local time.
But this difference is even more noticeable in the qualification. It starts on Saturday at midnight (it will already be Saturday morning here).
Practice sessions in Monaco were held on Thursdays not too long ago. Thursday practice returns to us in Las Vegas – the first will be held at 20:30 local time, the second at the same time as qualifying – the drivers will take to the track in the first seconds of Friday.
Qualifying is expected to be very cold so it will be difficult to warm up the tires. The rider will most likely have several preparatory rounds.
Race on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday
However, it will not be the first time that there will be a race on Saturday – and we are not talking about sprints.
The last Saturday race was held on October 19, 1985 in Kyalami, South Africa. It was won by Nigel Mansell. This was race number 419, so F1 will race on Saturday after 680 Sunday races.
The Saturday deadline is logical. F1 wants to race in Las Vegas at night and if it was raced on Sunday, it would be early Monday morning for F1 fans, which of course would be reflected in viewership.
We definitely won’t wait that long for the next Saturday race – Las Vegas has a longer contract, but above all we have two Saturday races right at the beginning of the next season – in this case, it’s not a matter of time shifts, but a collision with the Ramadan deadline.
The aforementioned race in South Africa was the last race on Saturday, but certainly not the only one. If we were to expand it, a total of 73 races in the history of F1 were run on a day other than Sunday. At the beginning of F1, the Indianapolis race was also part of the calendar, which was even held on Monday (1954, 1955 and 1960), Tuesday (1950), Wednesday (1951 and 1956), Thursday (1957) or Friday (1952, 1958).
The Dutch Grand Prix was held on Whit Monday in 1958, 1960 and 1961. The 1972 Spanish Grand Prix was held on Labor Day, Monday 1 May.
In the already mentioned South Africa, the grand was raced twice on Mondays (1967 and 1968). In 1965, the race took place on Friday. In all three cases, the races were on New Year’s Day or the day after. In 1965, it was raced on the East London circuit, then in Kyalami.
However, most of the races that were not held on Sunday were held on Saturday. The first race was the one with serial number 1. In 1950, the British Grand Prix was held on Saturday, May 13.
Racing was held on Saturdays in Great Britain with several breaks until 1983. Saturdays were also raced in South Africa, Canada, USA (in 1959) and Sweden. Although the Triple Crown is more famous for hockey, the 1978 race was held on a Saturday to avoid a clash with the FIFA World Cup, which was hosted by Argentina.
And on Saturday, both previous races were held in Las Vegas.