The news that Formula 1 will return to Las Vegas next year for the first time since 1982 only highlights just how important it has become for grand prix racing to truly crack the US.
Cutting through to what's traditionally considered the world’s most significant commercial market, to a wider public that has never really got F1, has long been a bugbear.
Now, with a third annual US fixture added to the schedule, joining the new-for-2022 Miami GP and the established race in Austin, Texas, F1’s American promoter, Liberty Media, finally appears to have discovered the code that grand prix racing has been looking for since the long-distant days of Watkins Glen and Mario Andretti.
Gaudy Las Vegas has always made sense for F1. Let’s face it, both are all about the money. But the last attempt to establish roots in Nevada’s gambling mecca ended as little more than a curio of F1 history.
In 1981 and 1982, the Caesars Palace GP closed both seasons but proved remarkably underwhelming. A bland circuit laid out in the car park of the famous casino and hotel failed to capture the imagination of locals and offered little inspiration to unimpressed drivers and teams. This time, it should be very different.
A 3.8-mile, 14-corner circuit will incorporate the landmark Las Vegas Strip, running past the famous casinos and hotels that make the city what it is. To some, it’s the tackiest place on earth. To F1’s promoter, it’s a slice of heaven.
The race will offer “the perfect marriage of speed and glamour”, as Liberty president and CEO Greg Maffei gushed, while it’s notable the press release even highlighted the “incredible neon lights” that will provide a suitably glitzy backdrop – and what could be more important? You stay classy, F1.