Bernie Ecclestone blasts Las Vegas GP race: ‘It has nothing to do with F1’

Oliver Harden
Bernie Ecclestone

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone seen arriving at Southwark Crown Court.

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has criticised the upcoming Las Vegas GP, claiming the event “has nothing to do with Formula 1.”

With F1 already visiting Miami and Austin in 2023, Vegas will host the sport’s third and final trip to the United States this weekend as the penultimate round of the season.

The inaugural race on the new street circuit, which will take in the famous Las Vegas Strip, has been described as a key milestone in Liberty Media’s ownership of F1 since taking control of the sport in 2017. Long-serving chief executive Ecclestone was ousted shortly after the completion of Liberty’s takeover.

Bernie Ecclestone critical of Las Vegas GP

This will not be the first time F1 has raced in Vegas, with the Caesars Palace hotel hosting two grands prix in 1981 and 1982. The event proved widely unpopular, with the circuit likened to a car park and described as one of the worst tracks in F1 history.

Despite masterminding F1’s first visit to Nevada more than four decades ago, Ecclestone has claimed he has no appetite for this weekend’s race.

He told Dutch publication NOS: “I’m not really looking forward to it. Why not? It has nothing to do with Formula 1.”

Ecclestone – credited for taking the sport to emerging new markets in Asia including Bahrain, China and Singapore at the turn of the century – also expressed his pride that F1 continues to expand to different parts of the world. The F1 2024 schedule includes a record 24 races, with China returning to the calendar for the first time since 2019.

Ecclestone said: “I am happy that the sport continues to develop around the world. I am the one who brought Formula 1 out of Europe and to the rest of the world.

“We are competing for a World Championship, not a European Championship. It is good that that remains the case.”

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As a night race in mid-November, the Las Vegas GP has been tipped to be one of the coldest events in F1 history with temperatures set to fall as low as eight degrees Celsius according to current forecasts.

Qualifying in Nevada is scheduled to begin at midnight local time, with the race held at 10pm on Saturday.

Three-time World Champion Max Verstappen is aiming to secure a hat-trick of United States wins in 2023, having triumphed in Miami and Austin earlier this season.

Verstappen won both rounds despite missing out on pole position, qualifying ninth in Florida and sixth in Texas.

Read next: Seven quirky Las Vegas facts ahead of F1’s newest adventure