Las Vegas residents, workers and tourists slam “nightmare” disruptions caused by upcoming F1 GP

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Whilst the inaugural Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix brings a lot of anticipation and excitement especially to those involved, the practicalities of the race around the iconic Strip are proving quite the challenge for local residents, workers and even tourists – with the event being slammed due to the disruptions it is already causing to traffic and work conditions.

Photo Credits: Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

In an exclusive feature from Elizabeth Blackstock for Jalopnik, several residents and workers from Las Vegas have highlighted some of the huge issues caused by F1’s newest race around the Las Vegas Boulevard, most commonly known as the Strip.

Despite the projected economic impact of the race being a whopping $1.2billion for Sin City, some workers believe the excessive amount of hours, combined with the difficulties brought by road closures and traffic jams, will greatly reduce the benefits from the race:

“I hear nothing but complaints from other resort corridor employees. They don’t even want to work [F1] weekend,” said local author Lisa Lindell, who deals poker on the Strip. “One employer is offering prizes [for workers], with the top prize being a BMW. Workers only get one entry for every hour they work that weekend. Why not just pay more for those shifts?”

Complaints also involve the difficulties in arriving to work due to several road and traffic disruptions. Evan, one of the workers, even revealed that the preparation his employer suggested during the F1 race week “runs along the lines of, ‘good luck, leave home earlier, park somewhere else, and take a bus or monorail. Don’t be late. It’s not our problem.’”

Evan went on to make a damning assessment of how Formula One is managing the race, saying the sport failed to understand the ins-and-outs of the Strip and only focused on making money at any cost, without thinking through the potential consequences that are now taking place just days before the race:

“[F1] just sees streets on a map, hotel rooms to be rented, and dollars to be made. Las Vegas may be different from every other city, but in many ways it is still like any other city. People live here, work here, raise kids here, and live their lives. F1 simply doesn’t care.

“For every one fat cat Formula 1 fan, there are hundreds of ordinary tourists that are avoiding visiting Las Vegas owing to elevated costs and the general mayhem the sport is bringing to the city. Convention organizers are seeing the struggles their attendees have had, and if F1 is back next year, they will move their shows to another city.”

But not all is doom and gloom for F1, with some locals reckoning the sport has made some significant investment into the city, especially when it comes to road resurfacing, which will benefit the city as a whole throughout the year, not only during the F1 weekend:

“Before you blame a single event for all the problems in Las Vegas, buy a plane ticket, rent a car and see for yourself.

“A handful of vocal people want to blame F1 for the terrible condition of our local streets. F1 is spending $90 million to repave a huge part of Las Vegas Boulevard that hasn’t been repaved for more than 20 years. [The series] will use this pavement for three days. The rest of the year, the county benefits,” said an anonymous resident.

He also revealed that the majority of traffic issues currently affecting Las Vegas come from a badly organized “double diamond” lane of traffic that was specifically built around the upcoming Super Bowl event that will be hosted at the city next February – and believes F1’s problem was trusting “crooked” politicians:

“Eight lanes of traffic reduced to two and pumped through the worst execution of a ‘double diamond’ you’ll ever find. It’s being done to benefit the Stadium and the NFL, because we’re hosting the Super Bowl. It greatly compromises traffic, but it has nothing to do with F1.

“If F1 has done anything wrong here in Las Vegas, it was trusting the crooked politicos that handle things.”

It remains to be seen whether the event can go ahead as planned in future years. The current deal previews F1 in Las Vegas for the next 10 years – but some believe the event won’t last long if it keeps upsetting cassinos and hotels, which “run the city”:

“The casinos run this town,” an anonymous resident told Jalopnik. “Liberty Media is used to bilking sponsors, municipalities, and remote race tracks. They are not accustomed to dealing with very high-powered corporations who are in the business of doing the bilking, not being bilked.

“If the casinos don’t see a massive recurring profit that offsets the pain from construction and teardown, then this race will be dead. No one gives a crap about the sport. No one.”

As one of F1’s most anticipated races in history, the Las Vegas GP is certainly proving to be challenging for both stakeholders, local residents, workers and even the fans – with ticket prices skyrocketing in price since the announcement in late 2022, and now reducing again due to low demand. Whether the race proves to be a success or a failure, only time will tell.