Four things F1 actually got right during chaotic Las Vegas Grand Prix

Elizabeth Blackstock
An aerial shot of Las Vegas Grand Prix

Las Vegas Grand Prix: It wasn't all doom and gloom

F1 broke new ground last week with the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix – an event we will be talking and arguing about for many years to come.

We have already discussed four key areas of improvement that F1 need to address for future Las Vegas events but, it hasn’t all been doom and gloom like many were predicting it would be.

Here is what F1 managed to get right at the first time of asking at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Activations, activations, activations

Of course, any event in its first year will run into teething problems, and that has certainly been the case for the Las Vegas Grand Prix — but that doesn’t mean everything has been bad.

In fact, Formula 1 has clocked plenty of wins in its first-ever effort to promote its own race. At the top of the list were the sheer number of immersive activations dotted around the city for fans — even those without a ticket.

F1’s partnerships with local resorts and casinos saw countless pop-ups and activations hit the properties.

At the ARIA, Alfa Romeo fans could explore their team’s elaborate displays. Head to the Bellagio, and anyone could buy some Ferrari merchandise or emulate Daniel Ricciardo at the dedicated shoey bar.

Foodies scored tickets to F1-inspired culinary events, while the art fans appreciated the Wynn pop-up dedicated to Lewis Hamilton’s recent partnership with Murakami.

The entire city of Las Vegas was transformed into a high-octane experience that anyone could have indulged in — and that meant exposing a lot of people to motorsport for the first time.

Targeting a lifestyle market

While Formula 1 has been criticized for its pursuit of America’s upper crust, the sport should be commended for seeking a prestige lifestyle market.

In the modern era, any company’s best bet at survival is diversification, and the Las Vegas Grand Prix is the epitome of a pivot made by F1 to attract new audiences.

One could argue that both F1 and Vegas overestimated the demand of that lifestyle aspect this year, as evidenced by slow ticket sales and plunging prices.

That being said, the attempt at attracting a full race weekend crowd rather than a race day only crowd is bold, and it’s an impressive step forward by Formula 1.’s recommended reading

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A permanent American presence

If Formula 1 has lacked anything in its efforts to grow in America, it’s an actual American home base. It can be difficult to take the pulse of a different country when you’re not actively communicating with its people.

With so much of F1’s decision making taking place in Europe or England, it’s understandable that the series may have made some faux pas in attempting to attract Americans.

The paddock building is a symbol of F1’s investment in America, and that can only bode well for the future.

An interest in experimentation

Longtime Formula 1 fans will remember how staid the sport could be in the 2000s and early 2010s; F1 wasn’t interested in getting too crazy in its experimentation, and even new events were often only accepted if they followed the same formula.

With Las Vegas, though, F1 flipped the script. It has, for the first time, taken on event promotion itself — and to a very impressive effect.

The entire city of Las Vegas has essentially become a “home away from home” for the F1 brigade, and that’s very different from other American races where the city that hosts a circuit often feels dissociated from the sport.

Perhaps the process of organizing the event hasn’t gone as smoothly as Formula 1 would have hoped, but that doesn’t spell certain death for the Grand Prix.

Rather, the efforts made by F1 to develop this race have signaled that the sport is, at the very least, willing to throw new things at the wall and see what sticks.

If F1 maintains this mindset throughout the duration of the Vegas contract, we can expect this race to become a stunning example of a sport going above and beyond the competitive aspect to create a massive comprehensive experience.

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