The upcoming Formula 1 Grand Prix in Las Vegas has become one of the most talked-about events in the country—but not all of that chatter has been positive.
Set-up for the race, which is scheduled for this weekend, has taken more than nine months, frustrating residents and employees in Sin City. Some of the backlash has been so intense that the CEO of Liberty Media, which owns F1, recently issued an apology to Vegas, The Guardian reported on Monday.
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“I want to apologize to all the Las Vegas residents and we appreciate that they have their forbearance and their willingness to tolerate us,” Greg Maffei said. “We’re going to bring something like $1.7 billion of revenue to the area. So it’s not just for the benefit of fans who want to view. We hope this is a great economic benefit in Las Vegas. We hope this is the most difficult year with all the construction that went on and things will be easier in the future.”
The Grand Prix will be the first F1 race in Vegas in more than 40 years, and it’s the first time the Strip will be incorporated into the track. As such, construction has been taking place to resurface the roads and create a permanent pit and paddock complex, which has led to terrible traffic and limited pedestrian walkways in one of Vegas’s most-frequented locales. During the race itself, some access to hotels along the Strip will be curtailed.
Las Vegas has plans for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday when the track is live, The Guardian noted. That includes remote employee parking and transportation to hotels for those who work at the resorts, as well as increased use of public transit in the city. But that hasn’t reassured all locals, who will have to navigate the massive crowds, with some 105,000 people expected to be at the race alone.
“We are apprehensive,” Vegas resident Ian Rineer told The Guardian. “We love big events, we love money coming to town but with F1 we don’t know what type of value we are going to see yet.”
While F1 hasn’t said whether the Grand Prix has sold out, ticket prices at the grandstand start at $1,500. Venue packages, meanwhile, can reach up to $5 million at resorts like Caesars Palace. Locals are hoping that the money flowing throughout the city this week will trickle down to them.
“We are a very basic town, it’s money in our pockets,” Rineer said. “Will it put money in our pockets as a server, as a bartender, that’s how we will measure it. A lot of us are cash-based and tip-based, that’s how we survive.”
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