F1 perfects the art of ripping off its own fans – Up/down in Vegas


Insert yawn-inducing gambling metaphor here to illustrate eventual relatively decent race which played out after off and on-track controversy prior to overhyped F1 event

Fans 2 2023 Las Vegas GP

F1 doesn't make its fans feel like clowns all the time, but certainly makes a good go of it

Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Finally, it’s over. You don’t have to read about the Las Vegas GP anymore. After you get to the end of this article. And get through a couple more days worth of ‘analysis’. Then it is really is over. Promise.

In some ways it was all predictable – more fanfare than you could possibly imagine, then a session gets delayed and it’s the loyal punters in the stands that lose out.

Next, after hellfire criticism rained down on the championship, Vegas suddenly pays out and manages to pull a semi-classic race from the bag.

A Ferrari win would have been far more romantic than, err, yet another Verstappen victory – but you can’t have it all.


Goin’ Down

Rip-off artists

Las Vegas fans 2023

F1: loves its fans

Reddit: AdamR46

Ripping fans off after the 2021 Spa debacle, skyrocketing Silverstone prices. The world of F1 is no stranger to doing over its own fans, but in the cold Nevada desert, it really outdid itself.

Diehard spectators who had stayed late, late, late to watch the delayed FP2 session were ejected. Paltry vouchers for the official race shop were then offered as compensation, followed by a tumbleweed or two going by in lieu of an apology from the world championship. For an event where weekend tickets started at around $500 for general admission and $2500 for grandstand seat. What an own goal.

Further to this, another clanger followed in the form of a patronising-in-the-extreme statement detailing what was “important for those who are new to racing to understand.” Ha!

The missive then bizarrely went on to admit the organisers – F1 – hadn’t made contingency plans for what would happen if the late night sessions overran. Something which often happens in the championship, particularly at street circuits. Weird.


Beautiful choreography

Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 2023 Las Vegas GP

Wrong way Fernando

Grand Prix Photo

The Iberian axis of Alonso and Sainz both executed beautifully perfect spins of their own accord in the first corner at the start – it’s a 10 from us.


Insult to injury

Carlos Sainz Ferrari 2023 Las Vegas GP

Pure misery for Sainz in Vegas


Not only was Sainz semi-assaulted by the Vegas road furniture in practice, his Ferrari team was then penalised for having to change the engine as a result.

There are two points here: it’s incredible that this rule, in light of the circumstances, still has no mitigating circumstances written into it, and then that the FIA applied it anyway. Archaic to the max.


Goin’ Up

Time for heroes

2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 2023 Las Vegas GP

Leclerc gets ready to pounce on Perez

Getty Images

There’s a reason the tifosi view Leclerc as Gilles Villeneuve MkII. The last-lap pass of Perez is exactly the heroism you want to see in F1.


Big Vegas winner

Esteban Ocon Alpine 2023 Las Vegas GP

Ocon’s race illustrated

Grand Prix Photo

Esteban Ocon might ruffle a few feathers with his elbows out driving style, but he gets results: 17th on the grid to fourth in the Vegas race was pretty handy.


In the Grove

Logan Sargeant Williams 2023 Las Vegas GP

Sargeant trending upwards, as they says these days


He might have had a bit of a shocker in the grand prix, but Logan Sargeant demonstrated in qualifying that he does have real speed, putting his Williams seventh.

The Florida lad now has one more GP to prove himself to the team for next year.


Grand design

3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 2023 Las Vegas GP

Las Vegas circuit: not bad


They were understandably limited with options due to its grid-like nature of Las Vegas’s city streets, but the track designers did a fine job with the circuit layout.

These cars look awful at low speeds, appearing to handle like Eddie Stobart trucks. However, apart from the few right-angled turns, the long, sweeping nature of this new Nevada circuit looked perfect for this current generation of beasts – it cultivated great racing.


Thank you very much

Max Verstappen Red Bull 2023 Las Vegas GP

It’s what The King would’ve wanted

Red Bull

Hard not to like those Red Bull Elvis race suits. The fact you can imagine Verstappen hating it makes it funnier.


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