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F1 Las Vegas: The iconic MSG Sphere has a weird role to play in this weekend’s race

Aston Martin on the MSG Sphere in Las Vegas
You won’t see these 3D elements during the F1 race in Las Vegas this weekend aston Martin

The MSG Sphere, the newest and perhaps most iconic Las Vegas landmark, has made its presence known to everyone who steps foot in Las Vegas this week. The Sphere is nearly impossible to miss, and purposefully so. Its newest role is it’s most interesting, though: taking a backseat during the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix

The track (which, as a side note, looks like a chubby little bear lying down to me) circles The MSG Sphere itself, with four of the track’s turns circumventing Las Vegas’s grounded Death Star.

Impossible to ignore, The MSG Sphere is in its earliest days, with construction completed less than one year ago. It’s proven itself a marketing masterpiece, too. It can be just about anything from a baseball to an emoji. It’s completely three-dimensional, inside and out. To my eye, it’s equivalent to an IMAX theater dome.

And because The MSG Sphere is impossible to ignore, F1 has worked closely with the team operating it to not distract from the race. In a walkthrough of the grounds, F1 and The Sphere told the media they have been mindful of not distracting F1 drivers this week. While having The Sphere as a backdrop for the race was a no-brainer, we must remember that drivers have yet to experience this track or this event. Distractions abound.

F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix circuit
F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix circuit F1

The MSG Sphere team tells us they have worked with F1 to eliminate the use of “some” colors that are distracting and the use of 3D elements on The Sphere during practice and qualifying, and the race proper, will be reduced or eliminated.

F1 drivers may reach a top speed of 212 miles per hour on this track, F1 says. While they won’t reach those speeds around The MSG Sphere in Las Vegas with all its twists and turns, the dome is visible from most of, if not the entire, track. F1 drivers must be locked in and attentive for the entirety of a race, so Minions popping out of a globe can wait.

While The MSG Sphere and F1 wouldn’t detail which types of 3D elements or colors they felt would distract drivers, we were left with the impression that brightness was also a concern. Expect The Sphere to be a bit dimmer during races this week.

Even with its muted presence, The MSG Sphere is easily this race’s most iconic background element. It could probably sit with a plain F1 logo and still grab all the attention – it’s just that incredible.

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Nate Swanner
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nate is General Manager for all not-Digital-Trends properties at DTMG, including The Manual, Digital Trends en Espanol…
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