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Clive Mason

Verstappen: Low temperatures at Las Vegas GP could produce a ‘few surprises’ on track

The clock is counting down until F1 head to Las Vegas for the penultimate race.

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Max Verstappen speaks about his concerns for the Las Vegas Grand Prix and how the low temperatures could provide an unpredictable weekend.

Part of the Las Vegas circuit. Photo credits: Dan Isitene via Getty Images
Part of the Las Vegas circuit. Photo credits: Dan Isitene via Getty Images

On the 19th of November, the penultimate race of the 2023 season will take place on the iconic Las Vegas strip. This will be the first time F1 returns to the strip since 1982 – unlike the race back then, this year will incorporate all of the popular tourist destinations including Caesars Palace, the Las Vegas Sphere and the Fountains of Bellagio. The track also contains three straights, one of which is two kilometres long and 17 corners also feature on the circuit.

The race will be held during the late hours of Saturday evening. Forecasts are suggesting this could be one of the coldest races in Formula 1 history with reports of the track temperature being just four degrees – which is equivalent to temperatures teams test in during winter. This will make the task of gaining heat in the tyres to bring up to ultimate use difficult and could mean an interesting race.

Max Verstappen speaks out about his struggles

The triple World Champion, Max Verstappen spoke out about how he is feeling ahead of the race. The Dutchman will be looking to secure his 18th victory on the strip. Verstappen however – like many drivers – doesn’t feel that confident with the track and says that with the low temperatures a ‘few surprises’ could take place with the unknowability of it all:

“There’s still a lot to do,” Verstappen said just after winning at Interlagos last weekend.

“I still need to go on the simulator. I still don’t even know the track, to be honest.

“The last time I tried it on the F1 game, I think I hit more walls than I was going straight. So, let’s hope that’s not the case when I start driving there!”

“It’s going to be very different to here [Sao Paulo], very low temperatures, of course in the night there. It’s a street circuit, we have no experience there, we don’t know the track grip.

“All new – so maybe it will give you a few surprises. I don’t know.”

What have others been saying about the weather?

In regards to the bitter temperatures, former racing driver and current Sky Sports F1 presenter, Naomi Schiff, further echos the worries about the temperature and mentions how more soft tires have been allocated:

“It’s going to be [a Grand Prix] that throws a spanner in the works,”

“Statistically, it’s looking like it’s going to be the coldest race in the history of F1 … they are looking at temperatures of around five to eight degrees (Celcius).

“By the sounds of things [teams] have been allocated more soft tires — probably because of that reason.”

Carlos Sainz also chimed in with his two cents and said that the weekend will be unpredictable due to the fact it’s the driver’s first time here and the low icy temperatures:

“The big thing there … will be the temperature and how the tires behave in those temperatures,”

“Also, given the track layout – very long straights – so, a tire will cool down on those straights and then getting into a corner on a very low downforce setting, like we’re expecting in Vegas, on a cold tyre, on a new surface, I think there could be many variables for tyres and temperatures in general to be a big talking point that weekend.

“And graining, if it’s very cold like we’ve seen in winter testing… I think those are the things we will be keeping an eye on.

“But until we get there, you can be as prepared as you want, but until you see what happens in the car, you cannot react.”

Are you excited for the F1 cars to hit the streets of Las Vegas in a week?

Featured image credits: Clive Mason via Getty Images

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