Fernando Alonso finds major fault with Las Vegas Grand Prix track layout

Henry Valantine
Fernando Alonso exits the pit lane in Las Vegas.

Fernando Alonso turns out of the tight pit lane exit in Las Vegas.

Fernando Alonso believes current Formula 1 cars “are not made” for the slow-speed corners present in Las Vegas after the high-speed straights.

He added it was “not much fun” in driving that kind of layout in the cold conditions, with grip and temperatures proving to be tough to find for the drivers all weekend long in Las Vegas.

While it was the first event on a freshly-surfaced track, Alonso believes modern Formula 1 cars are designed for the sweeping corners of some of the series’ classics, rather than the long straights and big stops of Las Vegas.

Fernando Alonso: Las Vegas layout ‘not much fun to drive’

The huge top speeds created by the Las Vegas Strip Circuit rivalled those seen around Monza, with the average speeds exceeding Spa-Francorchamps over the course of a lap.

But the slow, technical corners that punctuate the track among the long straights make it difficult for the drivers to generate temperature in their tyres, and Alonso believes such a layout is not conducive to “maximise F1 potential” from the cars.

“We need balance, as we said this week,” Alonso told reporters in Las Vegas, as quoted by Total Motorsport.

“There is not much fun to drive this kind of circuit at speeds of 360 kilometres an hour with no grip, no visibility, bouncing and those kinds of things.

“I know the show from the outside maybe looks good, but these cars are not made to go through corners at 80kph.

“These cars are made to go in Suzuka, to go in Barcelona, to go and Silverstone and maximise F1 potential.

“I think we need to balance the championship and balance the calendar. I think it’s what we are doing, but I don’t think that this is the only way to go.

“I think we need to have to keep some traditional races as well, where the F1 car can shine.”

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Alonso’s race was an eventful one, lunging down the inside at the start and pitching himself into a spin in the process – though a Safety Car helped him catch back up to the pack.

He was able to take ninth place from the race, but explained while the “danger factor” of the streets of Las Vegas was ever-present, the race overall was a good one.

“I lost the car. I don’t know if I was in a sandwich between two cars or if I was alone, I don’t know yet,” Alonso said of his first-lap incident.

“I thought it was over when I saw the Alfa Romeo and I was facing the wrong way, so I’m happy with the final result and scoring some points.

“The only thing is the level of grip as we touched on yesterday. I think it’s extremely low. I know it’s the same for everybody, but on a street circuit sometimes there is a danger factor that we need to weigh as well, I think Lando crashed quite hard into Turn 12.

“The level of grip and the temperature put the tyres under a lot of stress, a lot of graining.

“Maybe we can improve things into next year because we will learn from this season, but I think the race was good.”

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