The supposed plans for a Formula 1 race in Las Vegas have so impressed the city’s media that the Las Vegas Review-Journal laughed the suggestion off, although just to make sure the newspaper rang Las Vegas Events (LVE) president Pat Christenson, who said that he had not been involved in any discussions with anyone about bringing F1 back to Las Vegas. LVE is a non-profit organization which serves as the EXCLUSIVE major special events agency for the city. If he does not know about it, one has to wonder who does.
Bernie Ecclestone himself has said that Steve Wynn and Guy Laliberté, who had been named as possible backers, are not in fact involved at all.
The mayor of Las Vegas is Carolyn Goodman, who replaced her husband in the role in 2011. From what I hear Mayor Goodman (Mark I) promised the casinos that he would never again close down streets in Las Vegas for a car race after the Champ Car flop in 2007 and Mayor Goodman (Mark II) will no doubt know the full story and will be thinking along similar lines. The 2007 event attracted an estimated 40,000 spectators but the promoters lost millions and many downtown businesses complained that they lost revenues as a result. The promoter – DDB Ventures – closed down afterwards.
The other thing to bear in mind is that Las Vegas Motor Speedway has a vested interest in NOT having rivals races in the city. The facility is owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc, which is run by Bruton Smith and back in 1998 when Las Vegas last tried to host an F1 race, local sources told the Las Vegas Sun newspaper that speedway officials were doing everything they could to block a bid to build a golf course/race track because they did not want the competition.
The fact that the F1 to Vegas reports appeared in Forbes might suggest that there is some credibility to the story, but then again it might simply suggest that the quality of the Forbes reporting had gone down since the company was sold to Hong Kong’s Integrated Whale Media Investments in the summer.