Despite escaping a chaotic first-corner incident and salvaging a ninth-place finish in the Las Vegas GP, Fernando Alonso voiced concerns about the circuit's safety, citing a "danger factor" due to its low grip levels.
Alonso was relieved to score a top-ten finish in last Saturday night’s race after a dramatic start that saw him spin at the first corner in the middle of the pack and face the wrong way before he was tagged by the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas.
But the Aston Martin charger expressed his concerns about Las Vegas’ low grip levels, particularly when coupled with cooler conditions, that represented a “danger factor” that he hopes will be addressed for next year’s race.
While ambient temperatures during the Las Vegas weekend never dipped into the single digits as feared, next season’s round of racing in Sin City will take place two weeks later on F1’s schedule.
“It was okay. The only thing was the level of grip, which is extremely low,” he said when asked to describe his evening.
“I know it’s the same for everybody but on a street circuit sometimes there is a danger factor.
“It seemed like we were running in half-dry, half-wet conditions, and on a street circuit, it’s a little bit strange.”
Alonso further emphasized the incongruity of driving an F1 car at 80 kilometers per hour on a circuit like Las Vegas.
"It is not much fun to drive on this kind of circuit, at this speed, 360 kilometers an hour with no grip, no visibility, bouncing like hell, and these kinds of things," he candidly stated.
“I know the show from the outside may look good, but these cars are not made to go through corners at 80kph.
“These cars are made to go in Suzuka, Barcelona, at Silverstone, and to maximise Formula 1’s potential.
“So we need to balance the championship, balance the calendar. I think that’s what we are doing, but I don’t think this is the only way to go.
“We need to keep some traditional races as well, where a Formula 1 car can shine.”
Ahead of last weekend’s showcase event, many dismissed Las Vegas’ street circuit as a featureless and boring proposition.
But the critics were proved wrong, with race day delivering a thrilling spectacle that offered fans an abundance of exciting action up and down the field.
Alonso reckons that lessons learned from this year’s inaugural event will further improve the quality of the show in the future.
“There were a couple of nice battles,” said Alonso. “But as I said, the level of grip and the temperatures put the tyres under a lot of stress.
“[There was] a lot of graining, so maybe going into next year we can improve things because we will learn from this season. But the race was good, well organised.
“Maybe the timings were a little bit late for the mechanics, for you guys, the media, for drivers, for everyone.
“I think year two will be much better. It happened in Miami as well, a big difference between year one and year two.
“There are things to improve but overall, it was a nice event.”