Las Vegas GP Preview – Wolff: “We understand our mistakes”

© Sebastian Kawka for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

In Mercedes’ Las Vegas Grand Prix preview, Toto Wolff says the team can “explain our performance loss to the field” at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

“Brazil was probably our most difficult weekend of the season,” the Austrian said.

“After promising performances in the US and Mexico, we didn’t perform at our best in Brazil. We have been hard at work to identify the wrong turn we took with the set-up; we have done that. We understand our mistakes and can explain our performance loss to the field. That’s important as we look to secure P2 in the Constructors’ Championship.

“In parallel, we have been preparing for the challenge of racing at a venue that is a complete unknown. We have prepared the best we can, using the limited information we have, and there are some unique characteristics we can anticipate. The schedule is offset compared to other races.

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“We’ll be running at night, where ambient and track temperatures will likely be in the single digits. Plus, the track layout itself is unusual with many slow corners but long straights. It’s going to be a big challenge for us all and we’re looking forward to taking it on.

“It will also be an immense effort off-track. We have an impressive guest hosting programme including our own three-storey Vegas Club next to Turn 4. Media interest will be through the roof and seeing the cars race down the Las Vegas Strip will be one of the most exciting moments of the season.

“The eyes of the sporting world will be on F1, and we look forward to putting on a spectacular show. It is going to be something truly special to witness,” Wolff concluded.

Fact File: Las Vegas Grand Prix

  • Formula One returns to Las Vegas for the first time in over 40 years this weekend.
  • The sport’s previous visits to ‘Sin City’ took place in 1981 and 1982 under the moniker of the Caesars Palace Grand Prix.
  • Each edition was that year’s season finale with the Williams of Alan Jones taking victory in 1981 and the Tyrrell of Michele Alboreto victorious in 1982.
  • We return to a very different circuit; a 17-corner (11 to the left, six to the right), anti-clockwise 6.201 km high-speed blast through the most famous streets of Las Vegas including the Strip.
  • The track is the second-longest on the 2023 calendar, only shorter than Spa-Francorchamps.
  • That includes an over 1.9 km flat-out section from the exit of Turn 12 to the braking zone at Turn 14.
  • Our initial simulations show that top speeds will be second only to the ‘Temple of Speed’ at Monza.
  • These simulations also show that just over 78% of the total lap distance will be taken at full throttle.
  • That will be the fourth highest of the season, only behind the Jeddah Street Circuit, the Bahrain International Circuit, and Monza.
  • Owing to the slower corners though where the cars take longer to navigate, drivers will spend just over 66% of the lap at full throttle.
  • That is the ninth highest amount of the 2023 season and compares closely to Silverstone.
  • The set-up trade-off will be ensuring that top speeds are not compromised whilst the car retains good mechanical grip and downforce for the low-speed corners, such as Turns 1-4, Turns 7-9, Turn 12, and Turns 14-16.
  • Our simulations also show that there will be five braking events, with three of these designated as heavy. These will occur at Turn 1, Turn 5, and Turn 14.
  • Another challenge for the engineers and drivers will be the likely cold temperatures. At night in November, it is not unknown for temperatures to reach single-digit Celsius.
  • The lowest record race temperature in F1 history was the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix where the mercury only reached 5ºC.
  • For the first time since the 1985 South African Grand Prix, the sport will race on a Saturday.
  • Saturday’s race will also be the latest starting Grand Prix in F1’s history. The first night race, the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, took place at 20:00 local time.
  • This year’s Las Vegas Grand Prix will get underway at 22:00 local time, with qualifying taking place at midnight on the same day.
  • That schedule means that those supporting in our Race Support Room at Brackley will be working at similar times as they do for the Japanese Grand Prix, reporting to work around 02:00 GMT.

Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

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