Updated November 16, 2023 - 7:11 pm
The head of Formula One’s parent company issued an apology to Las Vegas Valley residents for the months of road work needed to prepare the Strip and surrounding roads that make up the Las Vegas Grand Prix circuit.
Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media, which owns F1, said he is confident the disruption required to make the race a reality will pay off in the long run.
“I want to apologize to all the Las Vegas residents, and we appreciate their forbearance and their willingness to tolerate us,” Maffei said last week in an interview with Fox News. “We’re going to bring something like a billion and seven to the area, so it’s not just for the benefits (for) who want to view. We hope there’s a great economic benefit in Las Vegas.”
From multiple rounds of paving, to barrier and lighting installation and construction of grandstand and hospitality space, there was no shortage of work that affected commuting in and around the resort corridor since April.
Officials have said that setting up for the race in future years won’t be as big of a task. The track won’t have to be repaved for at least six years, and the experience of prepping the roads and grandstands this year should speed up the process in the future.
“We hope this is the most difficult year because of all the construction that went on,” Maffei said. “Things will be easier in the future, but I understand we have asked a lot of the people of Las Vegas, so we hope we can bring a lot to them, too.”
The inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend kicks off Thursday with practice rounds, followed by another round of practice and qualifying rounds Friday. The 50-lap race is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. Saturday.
Racing isn’t the only attraction of the weekend for an event expected to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors. There is A-list talent booked for the race and at resorts on the Strip. The multitude of options is one way Maffei hopes the residents and visitors will see the benefits of the infrastructure work they had to endure.
“The launch party, really from Wednesday to Sunday, almost a week of events and musical acts, and you’re seeing sports figures from other sports having their own kind of side, viewing parties. I think we’ve attracted an unbelievable wide range of activities for all sorts of fans of all sorts of reasons who want to be in Las Vegas for this.”