F1 Aims for Smoother Las Vegas Grand Prix Amid Local Controversies

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Last year’s inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix found itself thrust into a whirlwind of controversy. F1’s initiation on the Las Vegas Strip met with a widespread local backlash due to the major disruptions in the city’s life. But this time around, F1 is vowing a speedier and more organized race preparation process that promises to minimize the inconveniences.

Hilton Grand Vacations, which had previously advertised “front row access” to the race, has now assured the numerous motorists troubled by last year’s traffic gridlocks and detours due to the racing event.

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The new voice of assurance is Brian Yost, the COO of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. This agency, in partnership with the Las Vegas Grand Prix, has been actively working on reducing agitation levels. “We’ll spare the city from the level of disruption that it experienced last year during the track build,” Yost assured during a conversation with The Racer blog.

The inaugural race’s disruptions had sparked enough anger to lead to both a lawsuit and a petition. Ellis Island, an off-Strip casino, filed a $50,000 lawsuit this April. In addition, a group of six frustrated businesses claimed a loss of $30 million in revenue and drummed up a Change.org petition. This petition, with 2,702 signatures and counting, urges Clark County to withhold F1’s special use permit, barring their ability to close streets for the race until a balanced, non-disruptive plan is presented.

Despite the race bringing a massive $1.5 billion boost to the Las Vegas economy last year, a majority of this windfall flowed into the coffers of F1 and the city’s multibillion-dollar casino companies. What trickled down to the casino floor staff was left wanting, while a multitude of off-Strip casinos, small businesses located within the circuit, tourists, and casino employees collectively lost time and money due to the prolonged street closures.

To further ease concerns of disruption this year, Yost confirmed that information such as alternative routes will be effectively communicated ahead of the race. “We’ll make sure the word is out, be they local residents, tourists, or the more than 120,000 men and women who work on the Strip,” Yost pledged.

The details of an improved community and communication plan are due to be proposed in the coming month. Simultaneously, F1’s chief commercial officer, Emily Prazer, expressed optimism on the race’s second year. Thanks to the involvement of major casino stakeholders such as Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts, and Wynn Resorts, F1 appears to be in a financial position to operate more efficiently.

“I believe we’ve proven the logistics side of it,” Prazer stated. “What remains is to minimize the construction time, something we’re diligently working on with everyone’s support here.”

Lastly, the Grand Prix’s calendar for 2024 marks the race taking place from November 21-23, featuring a Saturday night race, just as in the previous year.