The student publication of Fort Zumwalt West High School

The Solitaire

The student publication of Fort Zumwalt West High School

The Solitaire

The student publication of Fort Zumwalt West High School

The Solitaire

Lights Out and Away We Go

Why the Las Vegas Grand Prix is one to remember
The view of the Sphere as the sun sets before third practice.

The Las Vegas Grand Prix is a special circuit, not only for fans watching from all over the world but for the drivers as well. The reason this track is memorable for fans and drivers is because it has been 41 years since the last race happened in Vegas. The first ever Vegas Grand Prix, known then as Caesar’s Palace, started back in 1981 and housed another race the following year. Since then, the streets of Las Vegas have remained mostly untouched by Formula One cars, but it made a return to the calendars, as it is one of the races for the 2024 season as well, according to

The circuit stretches 6.12 kilometers and cuts through the Strip as well as passing the Sphere. It has a total of 17 corners, three straights and two drag reduction system zones, which can allow for great overtaking between teams. The cars will drive around the track for 50 laps, with the estimated top speed reaching around 342 kilometers per hour, or 212 miles per hour. The race can last anywhere from an hour to two hours, depending on the race, weather conditions or if any drivers crash out can cause a quick ending to their race, according to

If a driver crashes out, a yellow or red flag will be displayed. A yellow flag means the drivers will have to reduce their speeds and avoid overtaking the driver in front of them. It can last up to 15 minutes, depending on the severity that the car damaged the tire wall and how long it takes the marshals to clear the track.

A yellow flag can change into a red flag if the conditions are too dangerous. If a red flag is waved, drivers will come into the pits while they wait until it is over. Reasons for red flags could be dangerous weather conditions, a blocked track, ect. These flags can extend the time of the race, especially if cars are repeatedly crashing into each other or losing grip on the track, according to

Because of the return of the Las Vegas circuit, many of the teams have designed special livery, which is the sponsors and colors on the car, suits and helmets for the race, as they do at a few other tracks. For example, Scuderia Ferrari have taken the original red and white color scheme to pay homage to their original racing colors from the 1970’s. Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have specially colored racing suits that they also hand-painted for the race, according to

Williams Racing revamped their car that features the famous ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign. Williams driver Alex Albon has a specially designed helmet, incorporating Las Vegas landmarks with landscapes of palm trees and blue skies, according to

The new Red Bull Racing livery is the first time it has been completely taken over by new colors, incorporating a purple base that makes the pink and yellow look like neon lights, as it is a night race so the lights from the strip will be on full display. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen also includes bright neons into the helmet, as well as three stars, symbolizing his now three Formula One world championships, according to

Best Water Technology Alpine collaborated with the skate and streetwear brand, Palace, to bring a memorable collection to Vegas. With new racing suits, they will be driving a car with tweaked colors. Driver Esteban Ocon has a special “Deadpool” themed helmet to represent Ryan Reynolds as one of their new sponsors, according to

“A street race at night in one of the most mental and beautiful places on Earth,” Palace said, according to

A lot of drivers are really looking forward to driving the track, such as AlphaTauri driver Daniel Ricciardo, who mentioned previously in 2017 that it would be cool to have a Vegas circuit. For Williams Racing driver Logan Sargeant, it will be his third home race for the season, having raced in Miami, Florida and Austin, Texas earlier this season, according to

“I feel like we’re living in a movie. I’m very glad that I’m here to experience this for the first time,” Ricciardo said, according to

This race is also an opportunity for some drivers to come back after an unfortunate race in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Leclerc, hoping to score points for Ferrari to overtake Mercedes in the constructor’s standings, will want to do his best after crashing out in Brazil during the formation lap. It was caused due to a hydraulics issue with the car, preventing him from participating. Others who did not finish, such as Mercedes driver George Russel, Alfa Romeo drivers Valtterri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, Haas driver Kevin Magnussen and Williams driver Alex Albon are going to want to gain as many positions and points as possible. McLaren driver Lando Norris could use this race to gain fourth place from Ashton Martin’s driver, Fernando Alonso, who is only ahead by three points in the Driver’s championship, according to

Formula One is a point-based sport with a Driver’s championship and a Constructor’s championship. 20 drivers are competing for World Champion at the end of the season. The way to win the championship is by getting the most points by the last race or having enough points that no other driver will be able to catch up to by the end of season. Whoever wins the championship for that year can have the option to use the racing number one for the next season.

The World Constructors Championship is similar to the Driver’s Championship, but instead of the drivers being the ones competing, it is the teams. There are 10 teams, each with two drivers, that compete to win their own championship. The teams get their own award because they are the ones making their cars and designing how they should perform. The best car will show through into the driver’s championship. The reason for two drivers on a team is that one of them is the priority driver for wins which is why, most of the time, their cars are the first to get upgrades to ensure the best possible performance. The purpose of having a second driver is to guarantee more points for the constructors to win, according to

Many fans are excited to be able to witness the coming back of the Vegas circuit and the races to follow, but some people have problems with the track and other variables with it. The demand for it was highly overestimated, as they sold tickets for an average of $2000 dollars per person, later reducing the amount to as little as 40% of the original price. Another reason fans and locals are not so happy with it is because of the effect it had on the people around it. While it was being built, they had to shut down part of the road, which only allowed the cars and the people to use one side of the street. Some fans think the layout of the track will make it an uninteresting race because of the pace of the Red Bull car that has dominated all season. Verstappen, who has won 17 out of 20 races this season so far, is also unimpressed by the track, according to

“I think we are there more for the show than the racing itself if you look at the layout of the track,” Verstappen said.

The timing for the race was also altered in order to be able to incorporate the lights from the Las Vegas strip and for European fans, setting the beginning of the race at 10 p.m. local time. It upset Non-European international fans who were already staying up late to see the race who now had to stay up much later than they would’ve liked to be able to witness the coming back of this special race. This time change was equivalent to racing in Japan, setting the time for qualifying at midnight and the race at 10 pm on Sunday, according to