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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

‘Eyes of the world’ on Formula One in Las Vegas as Mercedes look to bounce back

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says the eyes of the sporting world will be on Formula One for this week’s inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, with his team looking to right the wrongs of their most recent outing in Brazil.

F1 arrives in Vegas this weekend with a new street circuit layout, for what organisers believe will be one of the biggest sporting events of 2023.

With a 1.4-mile stretch of the iconic Las Vegas Strip being taken over by F1 for the weekend, drivers will race past many of the city’s famous landmarks as part of the third and final event to be held in the United States this season.

While Mercedes boss Wolff expects the circuit to pose plenty of challenges, he believes the new event could become a fans’ favourite.

“We have prepared the best we can, using the limited information we have, and there are some unique characteristics we can anticipate,” Wolff said.

“The schedule is offset compared to other races. We’ll be running at night, where ambient and track temperatures will likely be in the single digits.

“Plus, the track layout itself is unusual with many slow corners but long straights. It’s going to be a big challenge for us all and we’re looking forward to taking it on.

“Media interest will be through the roof and seeing the cars race down the Las Vegas Strip will be one of the most exciting moments of the season.

“The eyes of the sporting world will be on F1, and we look forward to putting on a spectacular show. It is going to be something truly special to witness.”

For Mercedes, the race represents an opportunity to atone for a poor performance at the Sao Paolo Grand Prix earlier this month, when Lewis Hamilton only managed an eighth-place finish and team-mate George Russell was retired due to overheating.

Having seen Hamilton take second place at the Mexico City Grand Prix one week earlier, Wolff is looking for a return to those standards.

“Brazil was probably our most difficult weekend of the season,” Wolff said. “After promising performances in the US and Mexico, we didn’t perform at our best in Brazil.

“We have been hard at work to identify the wrong turn we took with the set-up, and we have done that. We understand our mistakes and can explain our performance loss to the field.

“That’s important as we look to secure P2 in the constructors’ championship.”

Mercedes hold a 20-point lead over third-placed Ferrari in the constructors’ standings with just two races remaining in 2023, with Red Bull having wrapped up the team title with six races remaining at September’s Japanese Grand Prix.

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