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Horner leads the call for changes to Las Vegas schedule


Claiming that the Vegas weekend left everyone "slightly f*****", Christian Horner leads the way on calls for changes to the weekend's schedule.

As if things weren't bad enough, what with the promoter - F1 itself - seeking a midnight start for FP2 and qualifying, the situation was further complicated by the delay to Thursday's second practice session and the fact that just days later the sport is 12 time zones away in Abu Dhabi.

Next year however, the schedule is even tougher, with Las Vegas the first event in a triple-header that then heads to Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

"As a first off, of course, there are going to be many lessons to learn," said Horner of last weekend's punishing schedule. "One of the things to look at is the running schedule because it has been brutal for the team and all the men and women behind the scenes.

"Everybody is leaving Vegas slightly f***ed," he added. "One way or another it has been a brutal weekend for everyone behind the scenes, and I think we need to look at how we can improve that for the future.

"I think run it a little earlier in the evening because you are never going to keep every television audience totally happy," he continued. "This is an American race. If you run it at 8pm in the evening or something like that it would just be a bit more comfortable for the men and women working behind the scenes."

"If we have to improve, it's perhaps the timing," said Ferrari boss, Frederic Vasseur, according to "It's not an easy one to find, if you want to have a decent timing for Asia, Europe, East Coast, West Coast.

"In the past, we had no issue because F1 was just for the European people, and we had to stick to the European timing, and it was okay. Now it's a worldwide project, and it's much more difficult to find something fitting with the expectations of the 24-hour zone. But we will adjust it."

"Certainly, we would support that," agreed AlphaTauri CEO, Peter Bayer. "I don't know all the background and why it has been done. But I have a bit of experience, coming from the FIA, and knowing how difficult it was for Formula E in many cities. Closing down the streets has a massive impact on the people living here.

"We'll have to review everything, and see how we can improve," he admitted. "I spoke to a couple of our guys, some of them actually quickly found the rhythm. I had a bad day on the second day, I thought I'm not going to make it! But then suddenly you're into it.

"Obviously, now we're going to fly to the other end of the world. And it will turn us upside down. But at the same time, it was worth it."

However, it wasn't only team bosses who were unhappy with the punishing schedule.

"No way! That does not have my vote!" said Daniel Ricciardo when told of 2024's triple-header. "They need to bring the times forward, because we'll be wrecked, especially at the end of the season. I've done six races and even I feel it. Hopefully they can make something work there."


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1. Posted by elsiebc, 22/11/2023 16:19

"I was ready to not like the Vegas race. I don't like Liberty. I don't like their penchant for show over sport. I secretly, or maybe not so secretly, relished in the first day's fiascos. I was amazed at the stupidity of the session times.

As the weekend progressed I started to change my view. Yes, Sky is all in and I'm sure the word came down from on high and they were all dutifully playing their roles. But you could see Brundle genuinely liked the track. He even said he had reservations about it at first. Several times during the coverages his eyes would light up when speaking about it. And you could see it when he drove it in that Aston Martin during the pre race show.

And it put on a good race, I have to admit.

And finally, to address the times: if you've ever been to Vegas you know that part of the experience is sleep deprivation. Frank may have dubbed New York the "city that never sleeps" but it does take a bit of a nap in the "wee small hours of the morning". Whereas when you're in Vegas there is so much going on, so much sensory overload, that you don't want to sleep for fear of missing something. I've come to realize that the times are totally appropriate for Vegas and that it gives a bit of insight into the Vegas experience to the rest of the world.

To clarify, I have changed my opinion about the Vegas race. I have not changed my opinion about Liberty.

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2. Posted by Anthony, 22/11/2023 15:17

"These viewer figures are small compared with the Indy 500 which had 4.92m viewers in 2023 according to NBC and despite all the hype and BS about the race it doesn’t even compare favourably with the other races mentioned in the editor’s comment. If I was an investor I would question whether the US has the appetite for 3 F1 races.

If the view is that it needs to be given another go, I don’t think that tinkering with the timetable will solve its problems - it needs to be run at a normal time of day. If this isn’t acceptable to the Casinos then it simply indicates that the race is not in the right place/part of Las Vegas"

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3. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 22/11/2023 13:47

"Why not start right at sunset like other night races? Absurd choice to start so late.

One of America's largest sporting events that few in America watched live."

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4. Posted by Endre, 22/11/2023 13:15

"The ESPN reported viewer numbers look heavily doctored to me. I don't see how it would be possible to have that number of viewers considering the race was middle of the night in most of North America and very early morning in most of EU. I could see people recording it and view later like I did, but 1.3 million live viewers is highly unlikely."

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5. Posted by Superbird70, 22/11/2023 12:27

"They do need an earlier start time. They also need better camera angles, and direction during the race. Too many shots of the track with no cars, or some long distance shot.

The race was ok but changes need to be made."

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6. Posted by Chester, 22/11/2023 10:55

"Agree with Horner. I was also f'ed by the end of the weekend. Worn out. Setting the times so late is stupid crazy."

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7. Posted by Editor, 22/11/2023 9:47

"According to ESPN

The telecast, which ran from 1-3:05 a.m., averaged 1.3 million viewers, the third-largest F1 audience of the season on cable and sixth-largest overall on ESPN platforms this season.

An average of 668,000 in the P18-49 demographic were tuned in as three-time World Champion Max Verstappen won a closely-contested race over Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez.

The Las Vegas Grand Prix was the most-viewed F1 race since June’s Canadian Grand Prix on ABC (1.76 million) and the most-watched telecast of any kind on cable after 11 p.m. ET Saturday night and in the overnight hours. Viewership for the race peaked at 1.5 million between 1:15-1:30 a.m.

Formula 1 qualifying, which aired from 2:54 – 4:09 a.m. ET on Nov. 17, averaged 626,000 viewers on ESPN.

With one race remaining, the 2023 F1 season remains on track to be the F1’s second most-viewed season ever on U.S. television, averaging 1.12 million viewers. Last year’s record-setting season, which included the inaugural Miami Grand Prix that averaged a record 2.6 million viewers, averaged 1.21 million viewers.

The 2023 season has had three of the four largest live F1 audiences in history on U.S. television:

Miami 1.96 million

Monaco 1.79 million

Canada 1.76 million"

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8. Posted by KKK, 22/11/2023 9:44

"I can't see what the problem is. Have an F1 USA championship ship bandleader the rest of the world alone ! The whole weekend was a flop, would love to see the viewing figures, better are way down o expectation."

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