Adam Rosales tells us about his disappointing experience at the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, describing a litany of organizational issues at the inaugural event on the famous strip.
- Images & Videos © Adam Rosales
- Tickets are not yet on sale for the 2024 Las Vegas Grand Prix (November 21-23).
- Read More: 2024 Las Vegas Grand Prix Travel Guide
The Las Vegas Grand Prix is a new kind of event for Liberty Media and it could shape the future of how Formula 1 events are hosted. That’s because the event is being promoted by Formula 1 itself. Unlike other races on the calendar, which are promoted by the owner of the circuit or local government, F1 organized and paid for everything in Las Vegas; from the track to facilities, tickets and event management. It’s a big risk for Liberty Media, with $500m USD already invested in the project. More than half of this cost was for the purchase of land and the construction of a permanent paddock building. Formula 1 has a ten year contract with the city of Las Vegas to host this race, which is how they can justify the investment.
The investment really shows in the state of the art paddock building, the lights and sound are on par with some of the biggest and newest arenas in the world. I’ve never seen the level of stage production at a race, it was really surprising. My ticket included access to the event’s opening party on Wednesday night, which left me both stunned and surprised, and with both good and bad impressions of the ‘show’ that the Las Vegas Grand Prix would turn out to be.
Destination: Las Vegas
It’s a destination most people know… the tourist getaway where you can have an extravagant night out at casinos, clubs and high-end restaurants surrounded by a bunch of pretty lights in the middle of a desert.
There’s a wide variety of hotels to choose from in Vegas to fit almost any budget. If you stay in one of the hotels or resorts next to the circuit, you’ll obviously be paying more. But I did speak to many people who waited until the last minute and were able to book some really great deals.
It’s hard to escape the gambling as there is always some kind of slot machine or table top game nearby. The city definitely looks different during race week. You can’t see the Bellagio Fountains, since the grandstands are built in front of them. There are barriers and fencing everywhere and limited walking paths that often direct you away from your intended path.
The city always has something to do. If you are flying in from Europe for example, you can get a meal or find a full casino or club to spend some time (and money) at any time of the day or night. Most major events are ticketed and can be bought in advance but you can always find something to do if you want to be more spontaneous.
There are some areas away from the strip that are worth visiting, both in the city and nearby day trips to places such as the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. In the Las Vegas area, it’s definitely worth venturing to the Arts District and the Old Strip in the Historic Downtown area of Las Vegas. There are some great murals, breweries and food places to explore.
The Hoover Dam is about an hour outside of Las Vegas and definitely worth a stop. About 2.5 hours away is the Grand Canyon West. It makes for a long day of driving, but is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area and have the time to spare. Via the group chat on FanAmp, we organized a group of us to go Karting at Speed Vegas, about 15 minutes south of the strip area. We booked our race in advance since spots were limited. It was a fun outing before we all had lunch together at Steiner’s Pub.
We opted to Fly to Los Angeles, stay for a night and have a nice birthday dinner and use some points to stay at a fancy hotel, then hire a rental car to get to Las Vegas. It was cheaper to fly to LA and rent a car compared to flying directly to Las Vegas from our home in Austin. We also wanted to visit the Grand Canyon on this trip. It was a lot of driving but aside from some traffic on Wednesday, it wasn’t too bad. We lucked out by leaving early Sunday morning as the highway to California was shut down due to a dust storm that limited visibility.
Staying at The Signature by MGM
When dates were announced for the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix in late summer 2022, I immediately booked an Airbnb since hotels were blocked off for the month. It was the only option to secure something that far in advance and they still hadn’t inflated their prices yet. It worked out at around $261 per night for a “Penthouse Studio.”
It was a 1 bed/bath with a kitchenette. It felt like a dated hotel but was easy to check in/out and use the valet service. They even gave us a priority road pass on arrival so we could access some of the closed (to the public) service roads limited to residents of the MGM properties. The Signature was connected to the MGM Grand via some indoor walkways.
It was cool arriving at the Signature while the track was open as a public road. The main entrance was just before the final corner of the circuit. We stayed in Tower 2 (of 3) and our room actually had a brief view of the circuit and cars flying by from level 33. There were plenty of expensive food options ($25 for a Johnny Rockets burger), clubs and the casino to explore without having to leave the MGM property. Since it’s right near the track, you would think it would be easy to walk there but once the track closed, there was no direct access to the circuit from MGM, I’ll touch on this later. It does have a monorail stop, which can take you to the center of the track at the Horseshoe casino for a couple dollars each way.
East Harmon Grandstand
I purchased a ticket in the first phase of the presale, initially a 3-day ticket for $2822 after fees. It was a giant pain to buy as Ticketmaster and Formula 1 (the promoter) were manufacturing the scarcity of their tickets and only released very limited amounts. I initially wanted to buy two but after more than an hour on Ticketmaster trying to find something, I was able to get a single ticket in the main grandstand. An upper row, aisle seat by Turn 1. The ticket was later updated to a 4-day ticket with access to the opening party on Wednesday night. The view of the circuit was great; I was at the VERY end of the grandstand in an aisle seat about six rows from the top.
I had a great view of the pit exit and up to the exit of Turn 1. Getting up and down the grandstand was a bit annoying since people were standing on the stairs in the walkway and weren’t being told to move. This included police (with full on assault rifles) who were blocking the path of egress and taking photos with everyone else. It was a bit farcical for the staff to allow this, and it wasn’t until Saturday night that they began asking people to move from the walkway. There were also some poorly-designed steps near the entrance that caused people to trip and fall or bruise their shins the first couple of nights. They eventually installed some bright caution tape at the step to highlight it a bit better.
All-Inclusive Food & Drink
The amenities were never too far away or congested. Bathrooms were plentiful, offering individually separated stalls with full sinks stocked with soap and paper towels. They had constant attention and were very clean but did not always have toilet paper. There were signs for women/men zones but they were all connected and identical within the enclosed fences. Plenty of drink options were available. It cost $12 for a 16oz (470ml) Heineken and cocktails were priced from $15 for a single. Some hot boozy drinks were also being served like a hot toddy or vodka hot chocolate for $18. I was surprised the drinks were “normally” priced, considering how expensive Las Vegas can be.
The food was included in the ticket price, which was both good and bad. This limited the lines and meant that fans didn’t have to pay for overpriced “stadium food” which is what you would normally expect for an event in America. The East Harmon zone had two areas with food stalls, and the offering was advertised in advance. Options included a beef rib grilled cheese (actually a melt), birria tacos, chicken salad and the vegetarian options of a “shake ramen” with tofu or jackfruit loaded tater tots. Each booth had a single item, you could just walk up and grab one. Only once did I have to wait behind two people, so it was very fast and easy.
The bad part of this was limited options. I was tired of the food after the second day and I normally feel like crap after eating meat for dinner on consecutive days. It was “free” so I indulged and ate multiple portions of just about everything, except the fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and the Churros. The food was kind of bland and got cold quickly. There were only a handful of areas to sit outside the grandstand and these were constantly full, so there were no places to sit down and eat. The only accessible area for me to sit and eat was my grandstand seat, which was the opposite side of the zone from the food. This was annoying since I couldn’t really eat and have a drink in hand unless I sat on the floor or lucked into a spot at a table. Free cans of liquid death (water) were being handed out all over. I dropped one while eating and lost it when it rolled under a booth. I also spilled a beer all over myself while trying to eat tacos without setting my beer down.
The event was organized and priced like a “hospitality” type experience at a music festival. It included food and non-alcoholic drinks but it did not feel worth the premium for the price of tickets. The food was lackluster, cold and was boring after the second day. If there was a way to have a cheaper ticket and buy food, I would rather have that option than being forced into the limited food options. No other food was on sale in my zone. I am not a fan of this style of food service for an event at this price point, and was disappointed with it all.
Arriving & Departing East Harmon Zone
Logistically, there weren’t any readily available maps for this event. There was the Las Vegas GP app, but the GPS service was very spotty on my iPhone 14 pro while surrounded (or inside) buildings which are mostly designed like mazes to keep people inside spending money. The app offered limited walking paths but was not fluid enough to accommodate the actual practicalities of the event.
There wasn’t any type of PDF or map with walking paths in the app or on the website. The circuit emailed a link to a PDF about your section to highlight the entrance and some walking paths, but I didn’t remember this email until the week after the event and it wasn’t available anywhere else. When you were on a “path” to the circuit entrances, there were some signs that pointed to zones but still no map. Paper maps were not distributed or on display. You had to follow an arrow to walk in the direction to your zone but were often stopped by a traffic officer telling you that you cannot walk in that direction or cross the road. I witnessed plenty of drunk people arguing with directional staff, jumping barriers crossing the roads through gridlocked traffic. The crossing guards weren’t exactly friendly, but I guess that comes with having to constantly yell at people who have no idea where they are, or where they are going.
To get to my zone from the MGM, which was essentially just on the other side of the track, I was directed on a 2.2 mile walking route through some sketchy areas down Tropicana Boulevard then up Paradise to the Virgin Hotel. There was no pedestrian bridge at this part of the circuit. The vehicle bridge in this area near Top Golf was reserved for shuttles carrying Paddock Club guests. I was offered a pedicab on this route for $150, but quickly declined this ridiculous offer.
The other option from MGM to the East Harmon Zone was to take the monorail one stop to Horseshoe Casino and get to my zone via the South Koval Hospitality entrance. I don’t think this was advertised as an entry route for my zone ahead of time. It was generally very difficult to find any useful info about access and walking routes in the weeks leading up to the event. When I first tried to take the monorail from MGM on this route, the guest services employee knew nothing about this route and said the 2.2 mile walking route was the best and only option. The employees were trained on the app but were not really able to answer any questions outside of it, which was a bit frustrating. Their training seemed geared towards casual visitors not using the app.
On Wednesday, I walked on the track to cross the road and down a block to the entrance. I was able to take the same route back. Thursday, I took the monorail to Horseshoe to check out the American Express lounge (I’ll touch on this later) to meet some friends and catch eight minutes of FP1. Then I walked to the entrance on Koval to access my zone. After getting kicked out minutes before FP2, I wandered along the strip until the end of FP2 and just walked back around to the opposite side of MGM from the signature to get inside the property through a maintenance door in an alley (I couldn’t find a main access, the circuit closure blocked a lot of the property on the north side).
Friday, I took the monorail to the Horseshoe and then the Koval entrance. As soon as qualifying ended, they did not let anybody leave the East Harmon exit so I hustled back to the monorail and waited in a crowd to board. There were no additional services or ways to speed up ticket checks at the three turnstiles during the event weekend. Monorail tickets are a few dollars each way; I bought two tickets (for each direction) but my return ticket would not scan. A very friendly woman scanned me through with her family access pass after I’d waited about 30 minutes in the disorganized crowd to get through.
I was back at the Signature in a little more than an hour after qualifying. For Saturday, I skipped the pre-race stuff to eat and drink in my room and watch the driver intros on YouTube. I left the Signature about an hour before the race, that’s when I was suggested the 2+ mile walk or the expensive pedicab. On my way out of the Signature, I walked by Top Golf and found some shuttles intended for Paddock Club guests. After the pedicab refusal, I circled back and an attendant asked me, “Paddock club?”. I said “yes!” and hopped into a shuttle without a ticket check. These shuttles took a temporary vehicle bridge across the track and dropped off by the Koval entrance outside Horseshoe. I was at my seat about 15 minutes before the race. Post race, they funneled the crowds out to the entrance at East Harmon.
Walking over 2 miles at midnight off-strip in Las Vegas through some sketchy areas while leaving a high profile event had me feeling uneasy. Las Vegas is not exactly a safe city. I took my chances and tried to take a direct route which ended up being through some apartments across the street from the entrance since the track was still closed. I was about to try and climb a wall at the back corner (across the street from top golf) when I noticed a couple of people walk in and out from next to a garage shed. A tenant living there set up a ladder and I believe was charging people to access it. I would have paid but did not realize it until after I had left, the woman didn’t ask me when I crossed the wall to the other side by Top Golf. I paid almost three thousand dollars for a ticket and ended up taking a ladder over a wall to avoid walking 2+ miles back to MGM. Saying the logistics were very poorly communicated is an understatement. For the money paid, it was an absolute farce. I get frustrated just talking about it.
At some point, they added the event’s opening ceremony to the agenda and my ticket included entry to this on Wednesday. The circuit was open, so I was able to walk over to the entrance in about five minutes from the MGM signature property. Once inside the circuit, it felt like a soft opening to get people trained and to test the facilities. The food stalls, bars and merch were open. I grabbed a beer and a taco, then realized there was nowhere to set my drink or sit down to eat nearby. I hugged my beer with my elbow and quickly ate a taco, then a short rib melt before making my way to my seat to see the view.
I was in PG1102, which was the first section, Row 35-Seat 1. It was an aisle seat on one of the upper rows which had a prime view of Turn 1. Not a great view of the ceremony itself, though. The light structure for the track blocked the entire line of sight to the opening ceremony podium stages, which was extremely disappointing. Taped to each seat was a wristband with a light that synced to the show. It wasn’t explained until right before the show started, it seemed like a cool extra but didn’t really do much during the show other than flash a few times.
The lineup for the Opening Ceremony was a surprisingly large number of artists for a scheduled 1-hour show, so I wasn’t surprised when they all only played a single song. After they all played, the driver intros started on raised platforms arranged down the grid. Without a direct view, I watched the driver intros on the big screen above the Paddock building.
The drivers simply waved from their stage on the platform and disappeared without being interviewed. The light and sound system was on par with newer arenas or music venues. It was LOUD and the light production was fantastic. I had never seen a setup like this at a race, but it was my first night race. Maybe other night races do something similar.
There was a coordinated light show powered by drones that were flying in the air making shapes of a rotating F1 car. With the sphere in the background, it made for some cool visuals. I expected a similar show to Miami’s opening ceremony with driver interviews but all the drivers did was wave after the announcer introduced them. The show ended after 30 minutes, which was half of the scheduled one hour.
It all just kind of ended without a “finale” or a “have a good night!” from the announcer, causing people around me in the grandstand to ask out loud, “Is it over?” My section was about 25% full, the entire section looked pretty sparse, which was surprising for the announced lineup. Once the crowd realized it was over, everybody made their way out. I walked back to MGM bar Levelup for the r/GrandPrixTravel meetup coordinated via FanAmp, which was a good time. I saw a few familiar faces from previous races this year along with a few people I’ve spoken to online in the months leading up to Vegas
About two weeks before the event, I noticed a section on the event website for “Amex Cardmembers,” which opened a portal to signup for access to the American Express lounge. Details were slim, but I signed up for access on Thursday and Friday. A new friend that I’d met the night before at the meetup got there before me and saved me a seat on the second level.
Upon arrival, I learned you did not need a ticket for the weekend in order to access. You just needed to sign up for access which required having an American Express credit card. Depending on your card status, you were granted access to different levels of the lounge. The highest level was for Amex Platinum or Centurion cardholders, but I was given access with my Delta Airlines Reserve card. Plenty of free swag was on offer, such blankets, bum bags, stickers, friendship bracelets, and hats. It was located in the same area within the “circuit” as the Koval hospitality sections on the straight just before the sphere area. The lounge sat right next to the hospitality. Each level had different amenities; Level 1 had a paid bar and an open viewing platform with seats facing the track, therabody massage on Level 2 and a “private” bar with appetizers circulating on Level 3. Drinks were all to be paid for, except water. There was also a roped off section on Level 3 for Centurion members only.
The best thing about level 3 was it was the only level with screens above the seating. The sections below only had screens inside the building behind the seating. I spoke with a rep who mentioned there is likely going to be more presence from American Express at stateside F1 races in the future. COTA almost happened for 2023, but it was a bit too short of a notice after the new advertising partnership was formed. The future Amex lounge events will not require race tickets either, which is a great way to experience a race weekend without dropping money on tickets.
I started Thursday at the Amex lounge to meet some friends and explore the lounge before FP1. Once the session started, it was cool sitting what felt like above the track on the second level watching the cars fly by. After a few minutes there was a red flag. With no trackside screens on Level 2, we resorted to checking online and saw the clips of Sainz’ Ferrari getting demolished by a water valve cover on the track surface. With no on-track action, we waited around and bought some more drinks.
After the first session was called off, I left and walked over to the entrance to the circuit at the south Koval hospitality entrance (which allowed access to the East Harmon zone). Once inside, I grabbed some food, explored a bit and picked up a free Amex radio for the weekend. I picked up my second round of food and made my way to my seat to eat it there and wait out the delay while crews fixed the circuit.
There were noticeably more people around Thursday than for Wednesday’s opening ceremony. I spoke to my seat neighbors for a while and the start time for FP2 rolled around. It was obviously not going to start as scheduled due to ongoing track repairs. Cars were getting warmed up, but we had no communication from the circuit or F1 at the track. I was checking news on social media and from the Reddit GrandPrixTravel group chat on FanAmp. Everybody sat around in the cold for hours with zero communication or updates from the circuit or F1. I guess you can’t have negative media attention if you don’t acknowledge the scheduled event not happening. It was over an hour after FP2 was supposed to start when we had an update saying that FP2 would begin at 2am, two hours later than planned. At 2am, it was delayed by another 30 minutes. I went to grab a beer but all the food and drink areas were closed. I was only able to get a can of water. I made my way back up to the seat I was in across from the red bull garage when there was an announcement about 15 minutes before FP2 was due to begin stating the event was now closed and we had to leave.
I tried to wait as long as I could and moved around a bit in the grandstand to avoid being kicked out. That was until police officers, some carrying assault rifles, started threatening us – the paying customers – with trespass charges if we refused to leave. Several shouting matches kicked off between paid guests, police officers and guest services representatives. We had waited for hours with no communication after seeing just eight minutes of FP1’s failed session due to inadequate track construction. Now we were being kicked out of an event that we had paid thousands of dollars to attend, just 15 minutes before FP2 was about to start.
It was absurd and I was frustrated at what a farce this was. I posted this photo on r/Formula1 which received over 850k+ views and was mentioned in a Motorsportmagazine.com article about fans being kicked out. As I walked towards the exit, there was a large group of people at the guest services booth arguing with the track employees about refunds.
They told us to contact F1 and gave no practical information about anything. There was no other official communication or apology from F1, aside from the initial announcement that night. I was with a new friend from the FanAmp group chat that night. We wandered slowly (to an exit) and lingered until cars came out on track. At this point, we were on the bridge at the exit of Turn 3. As the roads were closed due to the live track, the direction I was told to leave initially would result in a 2+ mile walk to get across the track to MGM, so I opted to explore and linger as much as I could.
It turned out that we were kicked out due to track workers not being able to work through the delayed event times. It was disappointing that the organizers did not plan any contingency with their staff for such a delay, despite the fact that this event already ran late (scheduled end time of 1am) and such delays are not entirely unexpected, especially when racing on a brand new street circuit.
Once we exited the track through the Koval exit, we made our way towards the strip, walked along the straight and watched through some areas of the fence that were clearly see-through. It was just an up close fly-by but it was still cool seeing F1 cars flying down the road up close as night for “free” in the middle of the night. I was following the session with F1TV on my phone. There was a Denny’s across the mirage (see picture above) that offered balcony tables for $250 and a few other places to watch the cars fly by. Navigation is difficult while the circuit is live and the roads are closed. Some overpasses were available, but involved long walks to get across the other side of the track.
By this time, it was around 4am and we found a great spot just outside the Mirage at the driveway exit. This was the highlight of the weekend for me, hearing the cars fly by at speed and the exhaust still audible for a good 20+ seconds before braking for the next corner. The F1 power units sounded incredible as they echoed through the strip. Making my way back to the MGM was a bit of a challenge since East Harmon’s sidewalks were closed on the MGM side of the road. I ended up walking down towards Hakkasan and was able to get into the MGM through an alley door that was popped open by a vacuum hose. I could have walked through a different alley, but it seemed a bit sketchy entering in the middle of the night since nobody was around.
I got back to the room around 5am and climbed into bed right before the sun came out. It was a disappointing start to the Vegas race weekend, that’s for sure.
East Harmon: Friday & Saturday
Friday was pretty smooth. Knowing that I couldn’t rely on the guest services staff for their advice, I took the monorail across the track from MGM over to the Horseshoe Casino and got a friend into the Amex lounge with my reservation. I had a drink and hung out for a while getting some more swag before walking over to the Koval entrance to access the East Harmon zone where my grandstand was located.
Nothing was different about the food, drinks or lack of tables. I ate but was already getting tired of the few items they had since it was the same cold food every night. I wish they would have made the all-inclusive food optional and offered cheaper tickets. Since I was at the end of the grandstand, my seat had a great view of the pit exit and Turn 1. It was a bit far away but the last corner was really fast and a slight downhill, probably my favorite corner of the circuit. The cars looked incredibly fast through here and the sparks looked spectacular.
Without support races between practice and qualifying, there was time to wander about to find more drinks and food. Before qualifying, I met a couple of people from the group chat to kill some time. I grabbed one more beer and made my way through the crowds blocking the stairs to my seat. I followed along with the free Amex radio I picked up for the commentary, as I couldn’t hear anything from the circuit speakers.
Leaving the circuit on Friday, I was hoping to take the East Harmon exit and make my way over to MGM instead of taking the monorail when I was directed away from the East Harmon exit since it was closed and we were not allowed to get out there. Instead, they forced everyone to walk about 15 minutes to the other exit at Koval by the Horseshoe Casino. The track workers did not communicate this in advance or provide any kind of maps so it was surprising. I was particularly agitated by this since the night before I kept getting yelled at to “TAKE THE CLOSEST EXIT AND GET OUT!” by a guy with a rifle.
I opted to take the monorail from the Horseshoe since I was near that area at the Koval exit. The monorail had no special schedule or coordination. The same three turnstiles and ticketing system. I bought a ticket on the app and waited in the massive unorganized crowd to get through the turnstile and board a monorail. It took me about an hour and a half to get to the MGM from East Harmon. I figured it would have been faster since I was basically across the street but there are no pedestrian bridges nearby and the East Harmon exit was closed for reasons unknown. Hopefully the Monorail is better organized in the future with an improved system to accommodate the crowd trying to use it so it doesn’t feel like a mosh pit.
On Saturday, I didn’t bother to get there for the pre-race ceremonies such as the driver intros or drivers’ parade. I was just frustrated by this point, tired of the food and didn’t want to buy more Heineken when I could just drink a couple of craft beers in my room and watch the livestream on YouTube. After taking an unconventional route (outlined earlier) to the track, I didn’t make it to my seat until right before the national anthem.
Right before the race, it hit me that it was actually happening. I was allowed to be in my seat that I spent a ton of money on. The vibe was there and the crowd was excited. Everyone was friendly and I didn’t witness any animosity or rowdiness between attendees. It was a bit easier to get a beer before the race since the guest services staff finally decided to move people off the stairs instead of blocking the pathways.
During the race, drink vendors were also walking up and down the grandstand selling beers. They all accepted tap-to-pay so it was an easy transaction. My view of the race was great and I was easily able to follow the action on my radio. It was a bit hard to read the track positions on the screen, and the F1 timing app was down throughout most of the race so I used my phone’s camera to zoom in to the screen and read the driver positions.
Post race and before the podium ceremony, the drivers stopped over at the strip and not by the main grandstand. That was my cue to leave my seat, as I wouldn’t have been able to see the podium anyway due to the light structures blocking the view. I headed towards the music stage but it was empty on arrival. I must have confused the “East Harmon Stage by Virgin Hotels” with a different stage of a similar sponsored name elsewhere, which is where Martin Garrix was due to perform. Since there was no concert in the East Harmon Zone, I just left and skipped watching the podium on the big screens there.
That’s when I ended up walking through some sketchy, dark apartment complex and over a ladder to get back to MGM through the Top Golf entrance. I made it back within an hour of the race, it would definitely have taken much longer if I took the monorail or walked the long way via Tropicana Ave.
I hope the Las Vegas GP is not the new benchmark for a Grand Prix weekend. There was a lot to see and do but everything in Vegas is expensive, and it’s hard to justify much of it when your money can go so much further at other races.
Everything seemed gimmicky or full of advertising in ways that made it feel like every element of the race weekend was sponsored by some corporation. It’s just not my vibe. There’s little authenticity to it and it seemed like a charade of pretty lights with the underlying aim to get you to part with your money on a casino game. The “spectacle” of the race weekend just felt unnecessary, as if my ticket cost went towards building state of the art sound systems and paying a bunch of pop artists to perform one song each. It probably also went towards paying for all the celebrity appearances.
The upside of the weekend was the group meetups we did along with the main event itself, which was actually a great race up right through to the checkered flag.
Formula 1 has done the bare minimum to acknowledge the unfortunate situation that arose on Thursday, which would only give it negative publicity. The statement put out by the organizers did not make an apology or offer any kind of resolution to the customers with three day tickets that missed a whole day of track action. Single day ticket holders were offered a $200 voucher for the merch store.
If you only watched the race on TV, you may not be aware of the logistical issues that we all faced at the track, or how paying patrons were removed and threatened with trespassing. Watching the TV coverage of the incredible race should convince a big portion of the audience to want to visit next year. I hope if you’ve made it this far in this report that you understand the issues of the event itself. Comparing the Las Vegas Grand Prix to other races on the current F1 calendar, there are much better races to attend, in my opinion. Races that offer much cheaper tickets and a full schedule of support races and on-track action.
As for the destination itself, the best parts about visiting Las Vegas for me were visiting the Grand Canyon and the Hoover dam. With so many pop-up events around the city featuring driver appearances, the chance to watch the cars fly past (for free) on the street, it may be worth visiting without a ticket next year. And if you wait until the last minute, you can likely find a good rate at one of the popular hotels. I spoke to lots of fans who had done exactly this.
Many grandstand seats in the Sphere zone were also empty, leading to some cheaper tickets becoming available on peer to peer platforms. If you’re flexible and don’t care too much about watching the race from a grandstand, I would save that money and get a table at Denny’s (I’m not joking) or somewhere similar to watch the race without a ticket.
I’m not planning on ever returning for this race. I’d only go to the Las Vegas GP again if I was paid to do so. For the same cost of a ticket and hotel, I could do a double header of two races in Europe, like Zandvoort and Monza. The lack of trackside communication, the logistical disorganization and misdirected walking instructions, overpriced tickets and sub-par food rounds this out as a bad F1 race experience for me. That’s aside from the part about getting threatened with trespassing and kicked out of an event that I paid $2822 for!
If I was going to spend a lot of money visiting a grand prix, I’d rather my money go to the “mom and pop” local businesses that occupy the towns around most tracks instead of mega casinos who want to squeeze you out of anything you’re willing to give up. The Las Vegas Grand Prix is not worth it for the current product. Give it a couple more years and see if the organizers improve the fan experience. Until it gets glowing reviews from attendees, I wouldn’t bother going. I’d be happier watching at home on TV.
Adam’s Cost Breakdown
- 4-Day Race Ticket = $2822 (PG1102, Row 35-Seat 1, East Harmon Zone)
- Return Flights Austin to LA = 11k Delta Skymiles + $230 each
- Rental Car = $550 (+ Fuel $250)
- 5-night Airbnb stay @ MGM Signature = $1044