Horner calls for change as ‘everybody leaving Vegas f****d’

Christian Horner felt Las Vegas delivered but at the expense of the welfare of all in F1

Christian Horner felt Las Vegas delivered but at the expense of the welfare of all in F1. Image: Anthony Staley/XPB

Red Bull team Christian Horner has called on F1 to make a change to the schedule for next year’s Las Vegas Grand Prix after what he feels has been a “brutal” debut that has left all in the sport shattered.

Coming off the back of a triple-header in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, following a short break, everyone associated with F1 was pitched into a night-time schedule in Las Vegas and operating on an eight-hour time difference to the UK, and seven to Europe.

The second practice session did not start until 2.30am following a lengthy delay for repairs to be made to the circuit after the rim of a water valve cover exploded underneath the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz as the Spaniard drove over it.

Qualifying followed at midnight and the race started at 10pm, all ahead of heading into the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi next weekend where there is a 12-hour time difference to Las Vegas.

The start times of the sessions were to accommodate a European audience, however, Horner feels there needs to be give-and-take to ensure F1 personnel do not depart Sin City in the future feeling totally drained.

“It’s been a big event and, like in anything, there’ll be a bit of a debrief to go through what was good and what needs a bit of polishing,” said Horner, speaking after Max Verstappen’s 18th victory of an astonishing season.

“When you look at the interest there has been in this race, it has been phenomenal. As a first event, of course, there are going to be many lessons to learn.

“I think one of the things we look at is the running schedule because it’s been brutal for the team, and all the men and women behind the scenes. I think everybody’s leaving Vegas slightly fucked.

“We need to look at how we can improve that for the future. We’re running so late at night, so maybe we run it a little earlier in the evening.

“You’re never going to keep every television audience totally happy. This is an American race, so if you run at eight o’clock in the evening, or something like that, it would just be a bit more comfortable for all.”

Despite the shambles of a start to the event, which saw an extended FP2 take place in front of empty grandstands after fans were forced to leave to accommodate union labour laws for the support staff, ultimately a stunning race redressed the balance.

Horner felt what was witnessed on track was “one of the best races of the year, if not the best race of the year”.

He added: “From a circuit point of view, it’s not the most exciting for the drivers because it doesn’t really stretch the legs of these cars in high-speed corners.

“But as a high-speed street track, a little bit like Montreal, for example, which always produces good races, this has produced an outstanding race because there’s been a lot of slipstreaming on a very slippery surface with big braking zones, and I felt it delivered.”

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