Skip to main content

The 2023 F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix aftermath: The good, the bad, and the ugly

F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix was a success, but not without issues

F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix winner's stage
F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix winner’s stage Nate Swanner / DTMG

The first-ever Las Vegas Grand Prix was, by any measure, a success. Max Verstappen came from behind to win, fans were delighted, the stars were out in force, and F1 made a solid showing in the desert, embracing the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas while simultaneously putting on a competitive sporting event.

This F1 Las Vegas event wasn’t perfect, though. I’ve been on the ground for an entire week and witnessed this event before my eyes. A lot was done before I got here, and much was finished as I explored.

I won’t mince my words: The 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix was incredible. No event is ever perfect top-to-bottom, and while I’ll take some jabs at F1 in this article, it’s essential to frame the event itself as a success. Because it was. It could be a lot better in 2024, though.

F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix - view from Heineken House
F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix – view from Heineken House Nate Swanner / DTMG

The F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix: All the good bits

Las Vegas is an incredible backdrop for F1. I noted this event felt like a video game multiple times this week. The bright lights of Las Vegas serve as a unique backdrop that feels unreal for an F1 race.

The people of Las Vegas saved the day. Everyone working during event week had such good humor about all the issues. Their demeanor and grace under stressful and oft-changing circumstances should be applauded.

The food options were fantastic. Food and beverage were included with all tickets, and the food options were incredible. This wasn’t a free-hotdog-with-ticket-purchase kind of event, and F1 did a great job sourcing great catering companies for its event.

AmEx radio. American Express was selling (or giving away, if you’re a cardholder) small radios so fans could listen to race coverage all week long. This is especially handy during the race, where keeping track of the action could be tricky – but we’ll get into that in a bit.

Not here for the race? No problem! Upgrade packages, like Heineken House, did a sensational job of making their environment welcoming to everyone. If you came to the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix with someone who isn’t into racing, they’d enjoy the ambiance of a Heineken House without having F1 cars as the only attraction.

F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix - Pit Lane restaurant experience
How much does this cost? Are tickets to it available? Nobody could tell me Nate Swanner / DTMG

The not-so-good things about F1 Las Vegas

Max Verstappen. Max had already seized this season’s title before anyone arrived for the Las Vegas Grand Prix. There was nothing meaningful on the line for this race. Max’s performance at F1 Las Vegas was, per usual, otherworldly. He gave everyone a masterclass in competitive, aggressive F1 driving. Still, his dominance in F1 means late-season races lack the excitement of having the season title on the line late into the season. And while I appreciate Max’s honesty, he was overly critical of this event leading into the race. Having your top driver knock a brand-new event is a bad look.

AmEx radio. While I like the concept of AmEx radio, I think it should be a feature within the F1 app – not a standalone device meant for use during the event. Once the event ends, it’s just plastic.

Temporary structures. F1 has no “home” in Las Vegas. As such, all of the infrastructure for the event is temporary, save for one permanent building (paddock and pit area) that nobody can tell me the use for when it’s not race week. All the scaffolding, concrete roadblocks, and seating areas for the race are temporary. As much as we like spots like Heineken House or Bellagio Fountain Club, feeling a giant structure moving as it becomes dense with people is uncomfortable.

It’s hard to see a lot of the track from any seat. This is why AmEx radio matters. We found no spot where you could view even half of the track at a given time. It’s somewhat expected because of large buildings and this being a street race, but it seems Las Vegas and F1 should put more thought into viewability. Many spots allowed you a view of a small snippet of the track, even when seated on a long straight.

Views were purposefully obstructed. I’m not saying people should be able to stand trackside and gawk at cars ripping past them at 200-plus miles per hour. The city should have set up some “free viewing zones” for residents. In many places where a view would have been possible, something blocked or hindered a view of the track. The image below clearly represents what I saw several times this week. Not cool, Las Vegas.

F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix - people watching event
F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix – people watching event Nate Swanner / DTMG

The worst parts about F1 Las Vegas

Road closures. I sat in a Lyft for 45 minutes for a ride that should have lasted 10 minutes and got no closer to my destination. Ultimately, the driver suggested I walk. The problem was road closures and traffic being redirected, seemingly randomly. The F1 app noted all road closures, but the mapping app(s) used by rideshare drivers did not.

No rideshare service. Early in the week, I took several Lyft rides. Each driver told me they were calling it a day soon and had no plans to work near practice, qualifying, or race time. There’s a Facebook group many of the drivers here are part of, and the overall consensus from the driver community in Las Vegas was that F1 wasn’t worth it for them.

Sidewalks were too crowded. Wonky traffic and rideshare downtime means walking, and lots of it. We’ve already suggested you bring a great pair of shoes if you attend the 2024 F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, and this is why. Las Vegas could have done better by creating more walkable areas for attendees. F1 says attendance this year was 315,000, and it felt like it when walking around. Oddly enough, a shuttle driver told me airport traffic from commercial airlines was well below expectations.

Everything is compartmentalized. F1 should take a firmer grasp of the event and funnel all bookings through one platform and service. There is too much opacity in pricing and availability for various offshoot experiences or add-ons for ticketholders. I would rather everyone have one hub from which to purchase packages. There were several instances where I inquired about availability or pricing and couldn’t get an answer.

No transparency. Go online, find an incredible package you want to purchase, and click a “contact the sales department” button – for what? I don’t like feeling like what I pay is not what someone else pays for the same food and service. Also, it’s Las Vegas; these entities will not overwhelm people with how much things cost. Just publish the prices.

Prices dropped – a lot – right before the event. Some packages were sold out months ahead, but ticket prices, room rates, and other options for F1 Las Vegas saw prices decrease right before the event. It seems a lot was left on the table, and I’d be perturbed if I spent $5,000 on something five months ago that another person bought for $3,500 five hours before the event began. Many ticket price drops were due to resellers snapping tickets early – another issue F1 should solve.

The 2024 F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix shows promise

This was year one. There’s a lot F1 can improve. Race fans were treated to a great race after a rough first practice and a clumsy start to the race proper. Many experiences surrounding the competition – which fans interact with far more – need improvement.

Luckily, F1 has a whole year to solve these problems.

Editors' Recommendations

Nate Swanner
Nate is General Manager for all not-Digital-Trends properties at DTMG, including The Manual, Digital Trends en Espanol…
Get a Lamborghini Countach for $17 (with one big catch)
A Lego Lamborghini Countach with associated driver in front of its box.

You may have laughed at us when we asserted that Lego is worth more than gold, but now we're the ones driving Lamborghinis. Lego Lamborghinis, that is. As we combed through the nearly 300 Lego Black Friday deals, we knew we had to emphasize this one a bit more. Right now, you can get the Lego Lamborghini Countach for 15% off, bringing it down to $17. It'll make a great stocking stuffer, gift to your nephews or cousins, or a great addition to your own adult Lego collection. Just tap the button below and you'll find yourself at the page to buy it.

Why you should buy the Lego Lamborghini Countach
There are two reason why you might want to get this product. The first is the highly-renowned brand. This is a Lamborghini after all. And not just any Lamborghini, but a Lamborghini Countach, famed for being 1989's fastest car. If you know someone that's about 34 right now, this can be an awesome memento of how much you care for them or a bit of well-wishing for their speedy route to success. Sports car enthusiasts that always wanted a chance to drive the one that got away are equally good recipients.

Read more
Hyundai and Amazon team up for online car sales (and no, you can’t get your car via Prime)
Hyundai and Amazon just made it super easy to buy a new car
2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6 parked outside.

If you shop on Amazon for guitar strings, luggage, and electronics, how do you feel about buying your next car on the mega e-commerce platform? At the 2023 Los Angeles Auto Show, Amazon and Hyundai Motor Company jointly announced an online sales collaboration beginning in 2024. Other car brands come later, but Hyundai will be the first brand you can buy on Amazon.

The new strategic partnership has three facets: online vehicle sales, cloud services, and integrating Alexa in future Hyundais. Amazon will begin online sales of Hyundai models on Amazon Web Services (AWS) will be Hyundai's preferred provider of cloud services for the vehicle manufacturer's digital transformation. The two companies will work together to integrate Alexa voice response into Hyundai's driver infotainment and vehicle management system.
Find my car
Amazon's new partnership with Hyundai doesn't cut out auto dealerships. Dealers will be able to list on Amazon vehicles currently available for purchase.

Read more
What’s all the fuss about tires in F1 racing?
The rules for F1 racing tires help keep the competition fair
Three types of Pirelli F1 racing tires on stands.

The difference between competing F1 race car times is often measured in fractions of a second. To keep the competition as fair as possible, the F1 governing organization, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), publishes comprehensive regulations each  Formula 1 racing season.

There is no wiggle room in the FIA regulations for race car parts and structures. F1 drivers' skills and tire management are the two most significant subjective factors in F1 racing. It's absurd to try to micro-regulate humans, especially race car drivers. Therefore, the regulations for F1 racing tires matter greatly.

Read more