The Formula 1 championship has been waiting to return to Las Vegas for over four decades. The hunt for the big prize in the streets of the “city of sin” began last year and only gained intensity as the event approached. The organizers prepared a spectacular American show, but it was not without a few hiccups.
The first came during the opening practice after only eight minutes on the track. The loose cover of the channel damaged several single-seaters, but Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari paid the most for it. As a result of an unfortunate incident, he had to replace some components of his car, for which he was penalized ten places at the start of the grand prix. Big bad luck for the Spaniard, because otherwise he would have started the race in second place, right behind his team-mate Leclerc.
Penalties for multiple components or power units are common practice in Formula 1, but it is a very controversial topic. Sometimes it happens that a team has to replace parts due to a collision that was not even the fault of its pilot. And then when you fall on the grid due to a loose channel cover – something you have absolutely no control over – it’s especially infuriating. However, F1 did not find a loophole in the rules that would save Sainz from a penalty, so it was driven according to strict rules.
A lot of people on social media jumped at the chance and poked more or less selectively at the overseas grand prize. They had no idea how spectacular the Sunday (in Las Vegas at that time still Saturday) race would be. After a long time, Max Verstappen had competition in the fight for victory, in Vegas there were crashes, rivalries and overtaking in droves.
After a long time we saw drama from start to finish, not even countless safety cars prevented the reigning champion from taking another triumph, but the battle for second place between Leclerc and Pérez until the last corner of the last lap was extremely impressive. Other heroic performances deserve to be highlighted – Esteban Ocon’s fourth place and Lance Stroll’s fifth, who has been struggling since the middle of the season.
All’s well that ends well? Not quite. As a result of the loose cover of the channel, there was another misfortune. The first practice was canceled after only eight minutes, the second was delayed by two and a half hours. This is so that the organizers have time to preventively check dozens of other such places along the entire route.
But the roads in Las Vegas are used as normal roads during the day, and such a delay was not expected. In order to avoid organizational chaos after the end of the second practice, the fans were not allowed to stay in the stands and were escorted out by the police. What about the fact that the most lucrative tickets cost 24 thousand crowns…
Would you expect a refund of the entrance fee? The satisfaction for the disappointed fans was a five thousand voucher to buy team clothes. It is not surprising that this is not enough for approximately thirty-five thousand viewers and they are filing a class action under the auspices of an American law firm. Unraveling the whole case will take some time, but it does not cast a very good light on the spectacular return of F1 to Las Vegas.