2023 Las Vegas GP Outright Betting Preview – JP

by | Nov 16, 2023

2023 Las Vegas GP Betting Preview

The F1 returns this weekend for the massively hyped Las Vegas Grand Prix. We didn’t have the best of weekends in Brazil, but we weren’t far away from landing a 150/1 bet in qualifying. James is hoping to get back amongst the winners in Sin City, check out his 2023 Las Vegas GP outright betting preview below.

2023 Las Vegas GP Preview

Is the 2023 Las Vegas GP the most eagerly anticipated Formula 1 race in history? Or just a nausea inducing hyped up gimmick for the US market?

It certainly will be different.

It isn’t the first time F1 has gone to Vegas but the last time was a race around a car park in front of a few baffled locals. This time it is racing down the strip, showcasing the rich architectural heritage of the gambling centre of the world. It will have showbiz stars aplenty and eye watering ticket prices. A truly elitist event for those that need to be seen. A bit like the Miami GP on steroids.

Vegas Weather

For those that are remotely interested in the actual sport of F1 this race does hold some appeal. When Formula 1 signed the deal to race here, nobody had thought about the weather in Vegas in the middle of November.

It was decided, for reasons which I have forgotten (probably something to do with College Football) to hold qualifying at midnight and the race at 10pm local time. Utterly useless for the European TV market, but there has to be some good reason. Oh yes, and the action starts on Thursday with the race on Saturday night.

Cold At Night In The Desert

The thing is, it really gets quite cold in the desert at night. The weather forecast is predicting air temperatures of around 10 degrees when the cars are on track. All sessions are after dark and there is a 30% chance of a shower for qualifying and 25% on race night.

So what? Ten degrees is hardly uncomfortable. Just wear warm clothes. That is what it says in the forecast, dress warmly. However, you can’t put a cardigan on a tyre. Well you could, but it wouldn’t work.

It is predicted that this will be the coldest F1 race in history and that does have implications, which makes it strange that nobody thought about it earlier. Not even Ross Braun.

Sensitive Tyres

Formula 1 tyres are very sensitive to temperature, and each car in turn has its own sensitivities. Pirelli have decided to bring their three softest compounds in the hope that they will be able to generate enough heat to give the drivers some grip. In the hope….

So the tyres are going to be cold, but they will warm up once they get going right? Hopefully, but there are a couple of other issues which won’t help.

Firstly is the lay out of the track. American cities tend to be laid out in blocks and as such, the roads are straight. Vegas is no different.

Long Straights

The feature of the track is a very long straight along the famous Las Vegas strip. It is just under two kilometres long, about a third of the lap. That’s long, longer than the straight in Baku. And then there is the long straight after the monster straight which gets to the finish line.

The start of the lap is a short burst into a series of four reasonable corners before entering, yes, another long straight. We then have a 90 degree right hander leading into the technical sector which features six corners, before hitting the monster straight again.

There is a theme to the track. Straights. This is a street circuit but sort of modelled on three drag strips linked by a few corners. I suspect, just a feeling, that if your car goes fast in a straight line, you could go well here.

Lacking Grip

But back to the tyres.

These long straights will help the tyres get nice and cold. Racing through cold air, on a cold surface, with no lateral forces to generate friction and some heat, will mean arriving at the corners with cold tyres and cold tyres lack grip.

The cars will be absolutely flat out before reaching some heavy braking zones with tyres that have very low grip. With barriers all around the track. And it might get wet at times which might cool the track a bit more. And reduce grip.

The long straights will also have the effect of cooling the brakes. The drivers will not only be low on grip, but their brakes could be unpredictable.

We have the prospect of the cars reaching their highest speeds possible, on tyres that will produce the lowest grip possible, with dodgy brakes. I can see some potential problems which involve cars hitting the scenery.

New Tarmac

And then there is the tarmac. The track surface is brand new, which is nice, but brand new tarmac tends to have…less grip. The good news is that as the cars drive around it, the rubber should go down and the grip levels will improve, especially with all the support races.

What support races? Yup. No support races. It does sound like a recipe for disaster, which may have been the plan I suppose. I’m surprised they didn’t go the whole hog and make it a Sprint race weekend, just to add a bit more jeopardy.

The track lay out does point us to a few other tracks as a potential form guide. The fact that is so straight line speed orientated means that the cars will have a low downforce set up. That’s Baku, Monza, Spa territory.

It will be cold, and colder than the two coldest races so far in 2023, Austria and the Netherlands which were both around sixteen degrees. Austria is not a street circuit but it is another track which is big on straights, and low on long corners.

High Speed Circuit

Las Vegas is a high speed street circuit which brings Jeddah and Baku again, to mind. There is not a lot in the way of long duration corners, well, just one to be precise. So if you have a car that excels in fast, long corners, like the Red Bull and McLaren, you might think this track isn’t a great fit.

Is the track going to be good for anyone?

Yes, I think it will be and we might get a good betting opportunity as a result. The two teams that sit up and look eager when we get tracks like this are Ferrari and Williams.

In the end, the Red Bull still wins, but Ferrari and Williams could overperform this time around. Bear with me while I try and spin a case for a qualifying bet.

Qualifying is the one part of the season which has not been completely dominated by Red Bull. Ferrari have picked up five poles in total and four of the last seven, and two second places in the last two GPs.

Leclerc got both pole positions in the Baku sprint race weekend, one of the tracks which is something like Vegas. A very long straight and short duration corners.

Monza-esque Speeds

The top speeds will be of Monza proportions. There are a few more long corners at Monza, but it is another very low downforce track. Spa is another low downforce track, but again it has much more in the way of long corners.

Tracks with not much in the way of long duration corners are Jeddah Monaco, Baku and Singapore. All those are street circuits and street circuits, not being purpose built, tend not to have much in the way of long corners. They tend to have more 90 degree turns, tight hairpins and so on.

Who has gone well on tracks that are street circuits with short corners, on low downforce tracks and in cooler weather? In qualifying, two teams standout. Red Bull obvs, and Ferrari. Alonso was in there in the early part of the season, but Aston Martin have dropped off since then, Brazil excepted.

Relevant Qualifying Form

Looking at pole position at relevant tracks we can get a better picture. In Jeddah it was Perez on pole with Leclerc second. In Baku Leclerc had both pole positions with Verstappen second.

Monaco was very close between Verstappen on pole with Alonso second and Leclerc third by a whisker. Austria saw Verstappen on pole, Leclerc second and Sainz third. At Spa it was Verstappen again, from Leclerc and Perez.

Monza had Sainz on pole with Verstappen in a Ferrari sandwich, and in Singapore, Sainz on pole again, with Rusell in the Ferrari sandwich that time.

Red Bull won all those races, bar Singapore which was won by Sainz. The races are a different beast, thanks to Ferrari’s tyre degradation problems.

Ferrari To Fight For Pole

This track looks good for another Ferrari assault on pole position. Their strengths are on the straights and in short duration corners. The Ferrari is much more comfortable turning 90 degrees than on fast sweepers. It puts less stress on their tyres and it also handicaps the Red Bulls.

Christian Horner says that their car is less competitive where there are few long, fast corners. They thrive where efficient downforce is rewarded and that tends not to be on street circuits.

Of course, less competitive for the Red Bull is relative. What he means is that they may struggle a bit in qualifying for the 2023 Las Vegas GP. They are further hampered this weekend by the fact that the Red Bull does have a tendency to be a little slow to get heat into the front tyres which is another problem in qualifying, not so much in the race.

It looks like this track will not be ideal for a Red Bull clean sweep, and it should give Ferrari a chance to get on the front row, and maybe pole number six of the season.

Strong Qualifiers

In 2023, of their two drivers, Charles Leclerc has an average qualifying position of 4.75 (GP qualifying), Sainz 5.00. Leclerc has scored three poles to Sainz’s two in 2023, and four front rows to Sainz’s two.

Charles Leclerc has scored twenty two career pole positions, Sainz has just five. Leclerc has had more time in better cars, but he is regarded as being very fast over one lap.

Charles Leclerc has qualified well on relevant tracks this season. He was 2nd in Jeddah, on pole in Baku, 3rd in Monaco, 2nd in Austria, 2nd in Belgium, 3rd at Monza, and 3rd in Singapore.

We can sprinkle on some very positive recent form as he was pole, pole and 2nd in the last three qualifying sessions. There is enough to suggest that Ferrari, and hopefully Charles Leclerc, will be serious contenders for pole position, and the odds are good.

2023 Las Vegas GP Tip: 3 points Charles Leclerc to be the fastest qualifier @ 7.00 with Betfred

I am reluctant to place many ante post bets for the race as there is a lot of learning to be done, but there are two more for now.

You might have got the gist that low grip is going to be the big talking point this weekend. Pirelli have brought the tin helmets as they are expecting a lot of flak to be heading in their direction. That is a bit unfair as they didn’t select the timetable of events. The tyres would be fine during the day.

The speeds are going to be high, the brakes cold, the tyres low on grip and the track side barriers close. There has to be an above chance of accidents, perhaps some big ones in the mould of Lance Stroll’s at Jeddah.

Collisions Likely

The track is tight in places and collisions are likely. Remember the first time we went to Jeddah? Five DNFs. All caused by accidents or collisions.

Baku also has many DNFs with cars hitting eachother or the barriers. There were six in the first two years of the Azerbaijan GP. Singapore had five DNFs on its debut and six the following year. Accident black spots do tend to get designed out, so the DNF rates do tend to fall after the first few races.

Street tracks take few prisoners and this should be another. The average DNF rate in 2023 is 2.30. I expect it to be well north of that.

2023 Las Vegas GP Tip: 2 points Under 16.5 classified finishers @ 2.10 with Betfair, Unibet

Williams have had this race targeted for a big haul of points for a long time. Lots of straights will reward its best attribute, being fast in a straight line.

Albon’s best two results were seventh place finishes in Montreal and Monza. Montreal is another track with a very long straight and Monza is the Temple of Speed with its emphasis on straight line speed.

He was best of the rest in both races (i.e. without Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin) and he is worth backing to repeat that. He is 3.75 in that market, but you can back Williams to be best car without the Big Five at 4.00. Go figure!

2023 Las Vegas GP Tip: 1 point Williams to be the race winning car w/o the big five @ 4.00 with Livescorebet

Due to the ungodly hours, I will not be doing an update for Qualifying. And what is the point? Because Charles Leclerc is going to do it!

There will be a race update posted some time Saturday afternoon UK time.


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