Updated January 28, 2022 - 4:37 pm
With Las Vegas quickly becoming a mecca for professional sports, Formula One is looking to host a race on the Las Vegas Strip.
A source with intimate knowledge of the situation told the Review-Journal the prospects of an F1 race happening on the Strip are “very real.” Talks have been occurring on the matter for at least six months, the source said.
Race officials are eyeing possibly starting the race at the Bellagio near Flamingo Road and heading north. The portion of the Strip would be temporarily shut down to host the race.
F1 apparently isn’t looking at the Las Vegas race as a one-time event. The source indicated Las Vegas stop could become their flagship U.S. race.
It is unclear if the Las Vegas race would be in 2022 or 2023. The 2022 F1 schedule has been released and Austin, Texas, will host its eighth event while Miami has been added for a race this year.
An F1 spokesperson declined comment Friday, saying “we do not comment on speculation regarding matters like this.”
Not only would the race be a huge event for F1, it would be important to Las Vegas as it would attract a large amount of international visitors. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is pushing hard to land the race, the source said.
The LVCVA declined to comment Friday on the possibility of hosting an F1 race on the Strip.
The global appeal is evident. The international TV audience for Formula One in 2020 was 433 million viewers, a slight decrease from 2019.
However, interest in the U.S. grew with the 2021 Formula One season garnering an average of 934,000 viewers per race on ESPN, an 54 percent increase compared to 2020.
Aside from the allure of hosting a race on one of the most famous streets in the world, F1 officials see the existing areas that fans could view the race from as appealing, the source indicated. Specifically, the pedestrian bridges that are constructed across several portions of the Strip were seen as valuable assets for the spectator experience.
The number of available hotel rooms Las Vegas is also a factor in F1’s interest in Las Vegas, the source said.
Race officials would have to pay for temporary road improvements on the Strip, mainly tied to sealing sewer manholes, as F1 race cars travel so fast those covers can be lifted out of the ground, the source said.
Plans would also call for barriers to be constructed on the sides of Las Vegas Boulevard to protect spectators watching from those vantage points.
This would not be Las Vegas’ first F1 race. The circuit held the Caesars Palace Grand Prix in 1981-82 in the resort’s parking lot.