F1 owners forced to apologise to furious Las Vegas residents over controversial $500million Grand Prix | The Sun

FORMULA ONE's owners have been forced to apologise to the residents of Las Vegas for messing up Sin City.

Locals are outraged by road closures causing traffic and grandstands blocking tourist hotspots.

The logistical operation caused by F1's first race along the famous Vegas strip, has sparked fury from the residents.

Work has been going on for months and now Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media who own F1, has said sorry.

He said: "I want to apologise to all the Las Vegas residents and we appreciate that they have their forbearance and their willingness to tolerate us.

"We're going to bring something like $1.7 billion of revenue to the area. So it's not just for the benefit of fans who want to view.



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"We hope this is a great economic benefit in Las Vegas.

"We hope this is the most difficult year with all the construction that went on and things will be easier in the future."

Liberty have spent around $500million, or £400m, putting on the race, resurfacing the roads, building a new paddock and garages and putting up grandstands.

They hope to cash in on the sport's popularity in the US, driven by the Netflix 'Drive to Survive' TV series.

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However, rather than hitting the jackpot, there are serious concerns the race, which is Saturday night Las Vegas time but Sunday morning in the UK, will be a massive flop with hundreds of seats and hotel rooms left unsold.

Ticket sales too have been slow with many reluctant to spend the ridiculous sums being suggested.

CNN reported that ticket website TickPick had seen prices slashed, although the average price for Saturday's race is still an eye-watering $1,060, roughly £800, for grandstand seats.

It is the same story for the unsold hotel rooms – but do F1's owners really care about the paying fans? In part they do, however, like other US sports the main focus is on the TV audience.

The race is on Saturday at 10pm local time, later than they would have hoped, for the majority of the East coast will be asleep by then.

There have been mixed reactions to the race from drivers, while the race could be chaos with track temperatures set to be around five degrees, far from optimal for F1 tyres which thrive in warmer conditions.

It is not the first time F1 has raced in Vegas with previous events at a now-abandoned circuit in 1981 and 1982.

However, the expected 100,000 spectators will be able to experience a never-before-seen feature at F1 – a wedding chapel.

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