The Las Vegas Formula 1 Grand Prix — one of the sport’s most anticipated events — is quickly approaching.
F1 has never raced in Sin City before, but later this month it will host the world’s fastest drivers and cars in what is set to be a motorsport spectacle.
However, as a brand new race, there are plenty of question marks: notably, regarding the weather.
Cold temperatures are forecast in Vegas this November, with the potential for records to be broken.
While Las Vegas is generally known for its warm weather, its desert location means temperatures drop significantly at night.
“It is gonna be cold,” McLaren CEO Zak Brown told SB Nation earlier in the season.
“I think that might be the coldest race on the calendar.”
With the race set to be held in the evening in late November, it could be as warm as 15º C (59º F) and as cold as 4º C (39º F) — according to historical averages.
We are still over a week out from the event, however, so we will know more about the forecast in due time.
“It’s going to be [a Grand Prix] that throws a spanner in the works,” former racing driver and current presenter Naomi Schiff noted on Sky Sports.
“Statistically, it’s looking like it’s going to be the coldest race in the history of F1 … they are looking at temperatures of around five to eight degrees (Celcius).
“By the sounds of things [teams] have been allocated more soft tires — probably because of that reason.”
The coldest temperature ever recorded in F1 history was at the Canadian Grand Prix in 1978.
It dropped to a brisk 5º C (41º F) in early October in Montreal.
A temporary street circuit, the Las Vegas track poses some potential challenges for teams and drivers to navigate, particularly if temperatures are cool.
The track features three straights — one which spans two kilometres down the main strip — and 17 corners.
Drivers rely on warm tires for grip, so cold weather and lengthy stretches without turns could see Formula 1 cars resemble Bambi on ice if precautions aren’t taken.
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz believes the unknown nature of the track and weather will make for an unpredictable weekend.
“The big thing there … will be the temperature and how the tires behave in those temperatures,” Sainz said in October.
“Also, given the track layout – very long straights – so, a tire will cool down on those straights and then getting into a corner on a very low downforce setting, like we’re expecting in Vegas, on a cold tyre, on a new surface, I think there could be many variables for tyres and temperatures in general to be a big talking point that weekend.
“And graining, if it’s very cold like we’ve seen in winter testing… I think those are the things we will be keeping an eye on.
“But until we get there, you can be as prepared as you want, but until you see what happens in the car, you cannot react.”
The potentially cold temperatures are due in part to the late start times of sessions across the weekend in Las Vegas.
The main race will start at 10:00 pm local time, while qualifying is scheduled for midnight.
As a reference, most races on the calendar are held in the mid-afternoon.