Formula 1
Resale tickets for this weekend's eagerly-awaited Formula 1 Grand Prix in Las Vegas have fallen dramatically. Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

Formula 1 embarks on one of its most ambitious and lucrative moves in the coming days as the Grand Prix will return to Las Vegas for the first time in four decades. It is hoped the event will elevate F1 to new heights and continue the sport's growth in the United States.

This is the third race in the United States on the F1 calendar in 2023, with races having already taken place earlier in the year in Miami and Texas.

Saturday's race in Sin City is sure to drum up interest around the world with many intrigued to see how the event pans out. However, a concern for the event has arisen through the demand for tickets falling, with the resale market indicating that people are not as keen on attending the event, which will run from Thursday to Saturday.

Ticket data site, TickPick, reported that resale tickets for Saturday night's race on Tuesday were priced at $807, which is just over 50 per cent lower than the price a month ago, $1645. It is also a 23 per cent drop from last week when the race tickets were priced at $1060.

It is also reported that there has been a drop in demand for the practice and qualifying sessions for the Grand Prix, taking place on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Resale tickets for Thursday's practice have fallen by 70 per cent from the last month and can be acquired for $119, whilst Friday's qualifying tickets can be bought for $259 from resellers, dropping 68 per cent from the previous month.

Speaking to CNN, CEO of TickPick, Brett Goldberg, stated that "The race garnered significant buzz when it was first announced", but interest in the Las Vegas Grand Prix, "started to fizzle" mainly due to Red Bull's Max Verstappen winning the Drivers' Championship on October 8th at the Qatar Grand Prix.

Having the season's champion already decided would naturally turn fans away as the main attraction at the event for most people is the race itself, and if there is nothing at stake in a sporting sense, it makes it difficult for this year's Las Vegas Grand Prix to be majorly relevant and exciting.

Another major factor in turning fans away from the event is the weather conditions, as the race may turn out to be the coldest Grand Prix ever. This is as the race is set to start at 10 p.m. local time and coupled with it being winter in Las Vegas, there is a possibility that the temperature will drop to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below five degrees Celsius at the time of the race.

Turning the strip of Las Vegas into a suitable racing track has been costly, with F1 reportedly having to fork out approximately $400-$500 million to acquire the area of land and to construct the paddock. Necessities of a Grand Prix that have needed to be installed include a 3.8-mile racetrack, a 300,000 square-foot paddock, seating for 18,000 people and hospitality suites.

With how much is being spent on the Las Vegas Grand Prix, there is a need for the event to be a success to justify the addition of it to the F1 race calendar. For one, the interest It generates needs to be high, meaning high attendances at the event are a must as well as large discourse surrounding the event.

Chief commercial officer of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, Emily Prazer touched on making the race more than just a sporting event and being an attraction for everyone. She said: "We want to make sure the fan experience is unrivalled and that we deliver a sports and entertainment event that is as good as the Super Bowl."

Another crucial aspect in deeming the event successful is the race itself and its practicality so that the drivers feel satisfied with racing on the track and being able to take part in an exciting race. If the track is unable to present a quality race, many supporters will be uninterested and will likely deem the event a cash grab.

Prazer believes the race taking across the Las Vegas Strip will be special and that it will be unlike anything witnessed before. She commented: "I don't think anyone is prepared, this is genuinely the biggest event the city has done in terms of taking over a large portion of The Strip. We are trying to own where we are and make it unique on the F1 calendar."

Seven-time world champion and Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton, has expressed both pessimism and excitement about the race in Las Vegas. He told Sky Sports: "I just don't understand how we're going to move around that place. It's going to be such a compact spot. So many people. But it's going to be wild, a wild experience."

The success of this weekend's event in Las Vegas will be the latest indicator of whether F1 has grown in popularity in the US market. If many people turn out to the event and the drivers put on a good race, Las Vegas will be able to justify its inclusion on the F1 calendar and it can be a special annual sporting event for years to come.