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Loose Manholes On The Track, Fans Getting Sent Home, Hotel Prices Plummeting, And No One Going Into Work - F1's Vegas Race Weekend Is Off To An Incredible Start

NurPhoto. Getty Images.

The idea of an F1 race track running throughout the Vegas strip is something you'd see only in a video game. The reality of bringing that to life? Turns out it's a fucking shit show on all levels. This is basically the F1's version of Fyre Festival. 

Let's start with attendance. No one wants to go to this thing as hotel prices have plummeted. 

(source) In a matter of months, the Las Vegas Grand Prix has gone from being one of the most expensive tickets in sports — leading to record-high hotel rates in Las Vegas — to seeing those prices crater unlike at any other event before it. How bad have things gotten?

I wasn’t planning on staying on the Las Vegas Strip for the race. When hotel rates for race week were first announced last year they made local and national headlines with prices raised more than 300% above usual for this time of year. The Flamingo, for example, was charging a nightly rate of $899 for race week last year but on Wednesday I booked a room at the historic hotel for $18. Yes, $18.

Ticket prices have also plummeted. Tickets for Thursday’s practice sessions were selling for around $100 on Wednesday night and tickets for Friday’s qualifying were going for around $250 on the secondary market. Both events were selling for around $1,000 originally. A ticket to Saturday’s race is still over $800 but they were over $1,600 just last month.

It's not only being viewed as inconvenience for fans, but workers around the area as well. Commutes to hotels have doubled and even tripled. 

“This race has made our lives a living hell,” said one cocktail server at the Flamingo, who said her normally 25-minute commute to work from Summerlin has been doubled and often tripled since preparations for the race began. “They started road work in April. They’re telling us they might not be completely done with the teardown until just before New Year’s Eve. And then what? Las Vegas is going to be back to normal for a few months before they get ready for the next race? Is this our new reality?”

Hotels have been forced to give away bonuses and prizes to people just for showing up to work. Is this Smitty's endgame? 

The Venetian is giving away a combined $250,000 to hourly employees working race week, with one employee winning a new Tesla Model 3 or $25,000 in cash. Many other Las Vegas Strip hotels are offering hourly employees incentives to come to work this week. Caesars is offering $100,000 in prizes and a drawing for a new BMW X3. The Wynn is giving away $70,000 while also enticing hourly employees with enhanced dining menus, chair massages and gift cards.

Last night practice sessions began and lasted all of eight minutes before everything was shut down. Why? Because of loose drain covers on the track. This caused the practice runs to be delayed significantly as all manholes had to be checked and cleared. They were racing throughout the streets at 3am because of the delays with no fans being allowed to watch.  

Fans were then sent home and were threatened with trespass charges if they didn't vacate the area. Smiles were shared all around. 

Did we forget where we are? It's Vegas! Nothing shuts down. People are never told to go home. It's a city that truly never stops going. And you're telling these people who paid small fortunes to get here and watch this spectacle unfold that they can't because you don't want to pay staffers overtime after your own fuck ups? You know how much money they're expected to make off this and you can't pay a little OT to the workers? Jail. 

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“We’ve travelled here from Los Angeles just for today,” one fan told Sky Sports F1. “We paid money for flights, we paid money for this [Las Vegas GP], and we saw nothing.” [Motorsport]

Think about that? Spending tons of money to travel there from all over the country and even world. Being told there's delays and waiting around late into the night for a restart only to be told you'll be arrested for trespassing if you stay to watch. And no refunds! Nightmare. Feels like a lawsuit could be on the way, no?

The video of Carlos Sainz's car running over the loose drain cover is nuts. Even more crazy? He's facing a grid penalty for needing new power unit components after his incident. I'm not an F1 expert by any means, but how is he at fault here? 

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So we've got fans furious. Drivers enraged. Employees around the area refusing to go to work. Uber/taxi drivers not seeing it being not worth going into the city. Yeah I'd say this is just about as colossal a fuck up as you could have imagined. 

Should be a sick race though if they can manage to fix everything in two days' time. It was supposed to rain this weekend but it looks to have miraculously cleared up. Think the weather was just about the only thing that hadn't added to the disaster. 

Good news for the upset folks in Vegas, though. This is just year one of a ten year deal to have this race there!