German engineer, racing driver and circuit designer Hermann Tilke, who has designed numerous Formula One motor racing circuits and his son Carsten, who is following on his father’s footsteps, have pinpointed some of the main challenges which they had to deal with as they designed the race track for the upcoming Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Next year Formula 1 will return to ‘Sin City’ for its first Grand Prix after four decades, with the Las Vegas F1 event scheduled to take place on November 18.
Instead of just being held in the car park of the Caesars Palace resort like it did in 1981 and 1982, the newly-introduced grand prix will take place around some of the famous landmarks along The Strip.
Carsten Tilke confirmed this was a huge challenges to pull of, given the fact that one cannot just simply remove access to and from the vast accommodation complexes which line The Strip and that attract dozens if not hundreds of thousands of paying guests daily.
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“In Las Vegas, the biggest hotels in the world are in the middle of the circuit,” Tilke jnr pointed out, in a recent interview – “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.” – he added.
“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.” – he continued, as Carsten Tilke has been overseeing the progress by making constant visits to Las Vegas, every three or four weeks.
The official launch of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, which was attended by the Mercedes and Red Bull drivers, alongside several team bosses, was held las week: “From the beginning of next year, it will be very interesting,” added Carsten.
His father, Hermann, concluded: “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.”