Nico Rosberg believes that Formula 1’s investment in the Las Vegas GP will pay huge dividends in the future, insisting the race is already a “must see” on the sport’s calendar.
As its own promoter of the event, Formula 1 invested an estimated $500 million in its Las Vegas GP project, an event it has committed to support for at least ten years.
This includes the cost of purchasing land for the pit and paddock area, constructing the permanent buildings, and creating the temporary track infrastructure.
The investment also covers the costs of marketing and promotion, as well as security and traffic management.
Although the race weekend suffered a troubled start on Thursday, with the cancellation of FP1 in the wake of a water valve cover incident involving Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari and an FP2 session that took place behind closed gates, race day was a resounding success.
A captivating three-way fight for supremacy kept spectators on the edge of their seats until the very end while there were also thrilling battles further down the field.
Rosberg gave a big thumbs up to the adrenaline-fueled action and deemed the Las Vegas circuit’s fast and flowing layout an exciting proposition.
“It was a three-way fight, and between Ferrari and Red Bull and then at the back also, so much was going on,” Rosberg told the Daily Mail. “The track was great for overtaking, high speed.
“So I think it was another great success for the sport.
“Interesting business case, also for the sport, because it’s the first time that they actually are the promoter themselves and it’s not a local promoter.
“So they’ve taken a lot of money in the hands to build up the venue, to be the promoter for the next 10 years.”
Rosberg admitted that a first at any venue is likely to throw up its share of challenges.
“Of course, when you go somewhere for the first time, there’s always going to be some challenges, but all in all, it was one of the most exciting races of the year,” he added.
“That’s the key to every [successful race], is that it’s really entertaining, unpredictable, because you had no idea who was going to win the race.”
Ahead of last weekend’s race, several drivers argued that the track’s 6.2km layout was too simplistic and lacked the technical of F1’s more traditional circuits.
But Rosberg, who sampled the track on a simulator, disagreed with that assessment from the outset.
“From the get go, it looked like an awesome track. Because it’s all about battles and overtaking – and we saw that,” he said.
“Even the fight for second place, changing positions there with an incredible daring overtake on the last lap, like two corners from the end.
“That’s what we want to see. And that’s quite unique because you don’t have that often. So I think they nailed it with the track layout…
“I think it’s going to be one of the great races for the next ten years. A must see on the calendar.”
Rosberg noted that the event’s most staunch critic, one Max Verstappen, had toned down his grievances after his win in the Saturday night street fight.
“It had everything so that even the drivers, even the most outspoken critic like Verstappen, became a super fan of the Las Vegas Grand Prix by the end of it,” said the 2016 F1 world champion.
“[He was] so open minded that he could change his opinion in such a sense and really be convinced otherwise, that actually it’s an awesome race weekend.
“It’s amazing how the country of the USA is embracing our sport now, which is not how it used to be in my time. It’s really amazing to watch and what a great success it has been this first inaugural Vegas Grand Prix weekend.”
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