Mercedes Bans F1 Team from Vegas Casinos
'I've never been to Vegas. But we're going to keep everybody out of the casinos,' Mercedes team CEO Toto Wolff says
This week, Formula One takes over Sin City for the Las Vegas Grand Prix. But don’t expect to bump into any members of the Mercedes F1 team at the craps tables.
The Las Vegas Grand Prix kicks off tonight with a star-studded opening ceremony. The race itself won’t be held until Saturday night, giving team owners one more thing to worry about. Las Vegas is famous for its many distractions and teams need to stay focused. As a result, one F1 team is banning its members from gambling.
"I've never been to Vegas. But we're going to keep everybody out of the casinos," Mercedes team CEO Toto Wolff said, according to Motorsport.com. "I don't play, so I'm going to make sure that nobody plays."
Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack also shared his concerns.
"There will be a lot of distractions," Krack said, according to Autoweek.com. "It is important to focus when it is the right moment."
Vegas sportsbooks are expecting heavy betting action on race weekend.
Not the only city with bright lights
Vegas is hardly the only F1 venue where gambling is a temptation. Monaco is famous for its casinos, including the storied Monte Carlo Casino. And F1 fans love the proximity of the casinos during the Singapore Grand Prix. In fact, Vegas isn’t even the only U.S. venue with casinos. The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood is only minutes from the Miami Grand Prix and even hosts official F1 parties.
The F1 team owners, however, are right to be concerned about focus. The Las Vegas Grand Prix presents several challenges. One issue that has sparked concern is the pit exit design, which features a sharp turn with little room to maneuver back onto the track.
Meanwhile, the race will be held at night; a nod to the many European fans who will be watching from afar. The November nights in Vegas, however, can be cold. And F1 tires don’t grip well at low temperatures. Pirelli is using the softest tires in its range to try to compensate. But Pirelli’s motorsport director Mario Isola is still concerned. Granted, all road races are tighter than teams would prefer. But control around the Vegas circuit’s 17 corners could be an even bigger concern, given the anticipated conditions.