Leclerc and Ricciardo voice concerns over F1 Las Vegas GP ticket costs

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The much-anticipated Las Vegas Grand Prix is finally upon us, marking a historic return of Formula 1 machinery to the glittering desert after a four-decade hiatus. However, amidst the excitement, concerns have surfaced regarding the soaring ticket prices, sparking discussions among key F1 figures.

Drivers Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo have voiced reservations about the unprecedented ticket costs for the Grand Prix weekend. General admission tickets around the MSG Sphere are priced at a staggering $966 (£844), without providing a view of the circuit.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Leclerc raises a crucial point, expressing hope that Formula 1 addresses the issue to avoid alienating passionate fans. Ferrari driver emphasized the challenge faced by real fans who may find attending races financially prohibitive.

“I hope that Formula 1 is working around that,” said Leclerc. “Because for sure there’s been many events now that are just incredibly expensive. Also like real fans that really love the sport cannot even afford to get to the races and actually watch the races. So this is definitely an issue that has to be tackled.”

Ricciardo joins the conversation, emphasizing the necessity to strike “a balance” between exclusivity and affordability in the sport. “I did hear some entry-level prices — I’m well aware that not everyone can afford those,” he added.

“I would love that everyone can have the option to attend. Obviously I’m not the business behind the sport. I don’t want to say it’s my ignorance, but I would still love that the general admission [ticket] is affordable for anyone, whatever job they have. Of course if there’s then some crazy packages and people want to spend that money — all good, so be it. But I guess I don’t like to hear ‘we would have loved to come, but we just simply couldn’t afford it’ – that’s obviously a little bit tough,” said the AlphaTauri driver.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

While acknowledging the financial constraints some fans face, Ricciardo discerns the possibility that such pricing is a deliberate business model by saying: “Again, I’m not saying I agree with it, but maybe this is that little outlier of a weekend where that’s the crowd that they kind of want to go after. And if that’s what it is, then obviously that’s their kind of business plan. I’m not really sure where they are with it. Obviously everyone’s got different lifestyles and levels of income, so it would be nice that the sport remains accessible for everyone.”

Recognizing the marketing and entertainment extravaganza surrounding the Las Vegas Grand Prix, Leclerc appreciates Formula 1’s effort to broaden its audience. He notes: “It’s a lot, but I think if you don’t do that here, you don’t do that anywhere,” underscoring the significance of capitalizing on opportunities presented by events in iconic cities.

Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari

“What’s most important to me is that the DNA of the sport remains the same. However, we need to also take opportunities of this kind of event in such incredible cities and make something around it that will maybe attract people that are not interested in racing at first, but that then once they get to see the cars in real life, then get interested into racing,” he added.

Similar to Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo also acknowledged the effect this may have on the future of the series. “This could mean potentially many more fans for the sport in the years to come. So I think it’s great what F1 has done until now,” the 8-time Grand Prix winner stated.

Despite a recent drop in prices, a common practice in Vegas as events draw near, organizers are optimistic about a surge in last-minute attendance, especially from the east coast. While the spectacle of the Las Vegas Grand Prix promises excitement, the discourse around ticket prices emphasizes the delicate balance required to ensure that Formula 1 remains a sport for all.

As the engines roar to life for the third time this season in the US, the hope is that the sport continues to captivate both long-time enthusiasts and those newly drawn in by the allure of high-speed racing.