Nov.16 (GMM) Formula 1 needs to be “respectful” of the places it visits, Lewis Hamilton declared ahead of the sport’s highly-anticipated return to Las Vegas.
As the paddock prepares for the highly-unique event, F1 owner Liberty Media’s CEO Greg Maffei took the extraordinary step of apologising to the public for a raft of pre-event problems.
The circuit takes in the fabled neon Casino ‘Strip’, but to make space for the required infrastructure, some trees had to be pulled out and even the iconic fountains at the Bellagio have had to be drained.
Tourists cannot use the gondoliers at the Venetian resort because canals have been drained and closed, with CNN claiming the Strip is “unrecognisable” in plenty of other ways.
University of Nevada Las Vegas professor Michael Green said the situation and the disruption is “clearly causing a lot of uproar”, and it’s also hurt F1 ticket sales – which were originally put on the market for eye-watering amounts of money.
The cheapest tickets have been slashed from a whopping $1,645 to just over $800, according to Forbes, some hotel prices have also dropped by half, while Fox 5 Vegas claims the late-night session times and cold weather have left local interest in decline.
“I’ve heard there’s been a lot of complaints about the event being here from the locals,” seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton said at a sponsor event in Las Vegas for Mercedes team sponsor IWC.
“I think we have to be respectful of the locals here,” he added. “So many people working so hard. There’s a lot of money and wealth in this city.
“We’ve got to make sure people are taken care of. We can’t be a circus that shows up that’s all glitz and glamour and people are affected negatively by it, in my opinion.”