F1 and Done in Vegas? Official Questions Race Commitment

Posted on: February 16, 2024, 01:08h. 

Last updated on: February 16, 2024, 04:46h.

In a surprising turn of events, a Las Vegas official this week claimed that Clark County has no long-term commitment to F1 to stage its Las Vegas Grand Prix annually on the Strip. This implies that F1 could be one-and-done without that commitment.

A.I. rendered this photo when asked to depict an F1 driver leaving Las Vegas. (Image: ChatGPt)

“It turns out that we never signed a contract — that was all with the (Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority),” Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week. “So everybody keeps saying that we’ve got three years. We never committed to three years, to my knowledge.”

This statement seems to directly contradict one made by Clark County Commission Chair James Gibson during a meeting last Feb. 7: “I think it’s important to note that we have a three-year contract with Formula 1, but we anticipate a lifetime in partnership,”

If Gibson’s remark referred to a three-year contract signed by the LVCVA with F1, along with F1 parent company Liberty Media, then his choice of the word “we” was misleading.

Tick Segerblom is the lone Clark County Commissioner representing the Las Vegas Strip. (Image: Associated Press)

The LVCVA, which approved $6.5 million of support for the race each year, is a tourism board, not the government body presiding over the Strip.

And though Clark County last year approved recognizing the race as an annual event for 10 years, according to Segerblom, it never contractually guaranteed that a race would occur each year.

That recognition, according to the R-J, was a convenience allowing Clark County to waive ordinances without having to hold meetings about each waiver.

Rocky Road Ahead

Though the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix was a financial boon for F1 and for the Strip’s major casino corporations, Segerblom – the sole Clark County commissioner representing the Strip — has felt rampant pushback from his constituents.

Dozens of local businesses and thousands of Strip employees experienced financial damage and inconvenience during the nine months of 2023 race preparations. Many are demanding financial compensation.

One enclave of businesses claimed they lost millions in revenue due to a temporary bridge F1 built on Flamingo Road that bypassed their storefronts.

“Can we cut back on the number of months that the town is torn up?” Segerblom told the R-J. “A lot of stuff happened, and I haven’t met anybody that likes Formula 1.”

Because no new repaving would be required for Las Vegas Boulevard, at least not this year, race officials previously stated they can shave six months off the prep work for the 2024 Las Vegas Grand Prix, getting it done in three months.

A discussion item on this controversial topic was planned for next Tuesday’s Board of Clark County Commissioners meeting, according to the R-J, but was tabled until a future meeting to allow for a public debriefing.

“I think it’s one of those things where the tail is wagging the dog and we’re the dog, so let’s stop tail wagging and take over,” Segerblom said.