Tilke duo describe the challenges of Las Vegas Grand Prix circuit design

Jon Wilde
The Strip at night. Las Vegas December 2015.

Night view of The Strip. Las Vegas December 2015.

Carsten and Hermann Tilke have outlined some of the difficulties facing them in designing the circuit for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Formula 1 will return to ‘Sin City’ for its first competitive visit since 1982 when the Las Vegas Grand Prix takes place on November 18, 2023.

Rather than essentially taking place in the car park of the Caesars Palace resort as the race did in 1981 and 1982, the newly-introduced grand prix will incorporate more of the famous landmarks along The Strip.

And, says Tilke jnr, that presents challenges – because you cannot simply cut off access to and from the vast accommodation complexes that line The Strip and which attract dozens if not hundreds of thousands of paying guests every day.

“In Las Vegas, the biggest hotels in the world are in the middle of the circuit,” explained Carsten in an interview with Motorsport.com.

“We have The Venetian with more than 6,000 beds and next to it is the fourth largest hotel (The Wynn). There are so many hotel rooms inside and around the circuit.

“Also, with Las Vegas Boulevard, we have one of the liveliest streets in the world. We need to get in the way of the casinos, restaurants and shops as little as possible.

“With the build-up, this requires some organisation. This all has to go smoothly. That is the biggest challenge there. We have less time than usual, so everything has to be right at once.

“People should not feel compromised by the race. It has to be an addition, an extra big show.

“I think everyone would like to be there. Many people are already calling me [to ask] if I can arrange a hotel room.

“The key is to make sure everything goes smoothly and that later nobody complains ‘oh, I didn’t get through because everything was closed [off]’. It’s a huge challenge.”

Tilke jnr has been making regular visits to Las Vegas, every three or four weeks, to oversee progress.

The official launch of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, attended by Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, Sergio Perez and Guenther Steiner among others, took place on November 5.

“From the beginning of next year, it will be very interesting,” added Carsten.

His father, Hermann, added: “Street circuits are always tricky. There are many things to consider.

“First of all, it is important for people to get to their houses, so you can’t just close a part of the city.

“You need a bridge for cars to the inner part of the track, because of course there could be an emergency.

“If someone needs an ambulance, they should be able to get there without stopping the race.”

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