Kurt Verlin
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Liberty Media Eyes F1 Las Vegas Night Race

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Change is on the horizon for Formula 1, and for good measure. Despite being one of the most advanced motorsports on the planet, featuring the quickest drivers, best engineers, and fastest cars you will ever see go around a circuit, Formula 1 has also remained in the past in some areas. Think grid girls, exorbitant ticket prices, the refusal to appeal to young internet users, and how it continues to be plagued by some of the same controversies and dilemmas of its earliest days.

Part of it gives Formula 1 its charm and part of it is long overdue for change. Fortunately, it seems that change is coming following the $4.4 billion acquisition of Formula One Group by American media giant Liberty Media. Part of Liberty Media’s goal at the helm of F1 is to properly pierce the American market and culture, and in addition to finally entering the modern video streaming era, that means introducing a second United States Grand Prix.

We had one in Indianapolis before and we have one in Austin currently, but the United States is a rather large place with lots of room for more. There has been talk of a new Grand Prix in or near New York City, which F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has long wished for, but now Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei has spoken specifically about his desire for a Las Vegas night race.

Max Verstappen leading Nico Rosberg at the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen leading Nico Rosberg at the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix

“I particularly like the idea of a night race in Las Vegas,” Moffei said during a conference in Barcelona this week. Ecclestone is also known to have talked with interested Las Vegas parties earlier this year about a second US race alongside Austin.

One problem that could potentially get in the way is the length of the Formula 1 calendar. Some drivers have already complained that the record 21 races on the 2016 schedule are too much. F1 is an extremely physically and mentally exhausting sport and more races on the calendar gives the drivers little downtime to take a break between seasons, which is already reduced by pre-season testing. Nonetheless, Maffei believes the calendar can be grown some more “to a mild degree.”

Another problem is that a Las Vegas night race would lose a significant chunk of viewers if it were held on the usual Sunday, as most Europeans—who constitute the majority of F1’s viewership—would be asleep or at work on a Monday morning. If Liberty Media believes the race would succeed at drawing in a proper American crowd, however, it might be a worthwhile effort.

Should it happen, Las Vegas would be the third place to host a Formula 1 night race, joining Singapore and Bahrain.

News Source: Motorsports