F1 Rewind: Caesars Palace Grands Prix

Caesars Palace Grand Prix took place in the car park of Caesars Palace Hotel. (Image credit: Bob Harmeyer/Getty Images)

As Formula One heads to Mugello for the very first time, we will this week rewind back to Caesars Palace Grand Prix in a unique F1 rewind in a diversion from usual format. 

If you have ever looked a car park or even shopping complex and thought that it would make a great F1 track then that is just exactly what happened in Las Vegas in 1981 and 1982 within the car park of the Caesars Palace Hotel, which looked like a botch job after Watkins Glen pulled out after hosting the 1980 season finale. 

Caesars Palace was initially set to host the final race that season but the event was cancelled which meant that 1981 marked the first time that F1 raced around the parking lot, with drivers complaining about the repetitive nature of the circuit.

Throw in the anti-clockwise nature of the circuit which placed enormous strain on the necks of drivers then the ultimate insult would have to be that the circuit layout looked like the letter ‘E’ from a birds-eye view, yet we complain that Monaco is boring… 

There however were some positives in that despite being a temporary circuit, Caesars Palace was well set up with proper run off areas filled with sand and wide enough to allow overtaking, although you would have to probably rely on F2 to deliver proper thrill of overtaking around this track even though F2 doesn’t go racing in the Americas. 

Add in the heat then the race’s debut as 1981 season finale certainly was a damp affair despite playing host to a three-way title decider between Carlos Reutemann, Jacques Laffite and eventual champion, Nelson Piquet who despite finishing fifth to clinch his first-ever F1 title needed 15 minutes post race to recover from heat exhaustion. 

1982 thankfully marked the final time that F1 raced around the car park of Caesars Palace Hotel after a combination of small crowds and hotel suffering heavy revenue losses brought an end to the Caesars Palace Grand Prix, although this circuit would again host the title decider as Keke Rosberg battled John Watson for the title. 

Rosberg led Watson by nine points and only needed a sixth placed finish to become world champion, yet managed to secure the title with a fifth placed finish after Watson was denied victory by Michele Alboreto’s Tyrell who won from third on the grid after Renault’s French pair of Alain Prost and Rene Arnoux had initially locked out the front row in Qualifying. 

The 1982 race also marked Mario Andretti’s final F1 Grand Prix as the 1978 World Champion switched to IndyCar with Newman/Haas team for 1983, with the American finding himself like many other drivers once again battling the heat, sore necks and a shambolic layout. 

F1 however has since spoken about staging races in Las Vegas again despite many considering this circuit as the worst-ever to have featured on a F1 calendar, although Liberty Media have stated their preference for a better circuit layout featuring the strip. 

Would you therefore like to see F1 return to Las Vegas for a Grand Prix in the future? 

Should Formula One return to Las Vegas?

  • Yes (100%, 1 Votes)
  • No (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 1

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