18/05/2024

Sebastian Vettel speaking ahead of the 2022 F1 season. (Image: Formula One)

Four-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel revealed he would rather race at Mount Panorama than Las Vegas in 2023.

Four-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel revealed he would rather race at Mount Panorama than Las Vegas in 2023.

Over two months ago, Formula One announced they would head to the Las Vegas Strip in 2023. A night race in Las Vegas will be the third U.S. track on the 2023 calendar, with Austin and Miami already on the schedule.

His own words

Speaking at an Aston Martin fan forum at the Australian Grand Prix, Vettel was asked about his opinion on the newly announced Las Vegas race. Vettel answered, “I’d rather go to Bathurst”, his answer drew a big reaction from the Australian crowd.

“Take the cash we’ll take to Vegas and invest it in great tracks that already exist,” he said.

“That would be a real challenge, I think that track is a monster.”

Alongside his praise of Mount Panorama, Vettel displayed his dissatisfaction with Las Vegas.

“To be honest, I’ve been to Vegas. I didn’t really like it, I think it’s too busy and people misbehave,” he said.

What would a ‘Formula One Bathurst Grand Prix’ look like?

The minimum length of an F1 Grand Prix is 305km – Monaco being an exception, only 260km in length.

Therefore, a minimum race distance around Bathurst would equate to roughly 50 laps. This is similar to the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, being 44 laps long.

Bathurst is a test of endurance with a wide variety of track elements. Long straights will bring high top speeds, while track elevation and demotion will test a driver’s skill and patience.

Open-wheel racing only arrived at Mount Panorama in 2021. An S5000 event was added to support the 2021 Supercars Bathurst 1000. The S5000 class had to take a power reduction to meet the weight to power requirements of Bathurst.

The S5000’s taking to the mountain – the first open-wheel race at Bathurst. (Image: S5000)

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It’s a long shot

Bathurst was last registered as a Grade 3 racing circuit by the FIA in August 2021. Grade 3 circuits can hold events for cars with a weight to power ratio of two to three kilograms per horsepower.

This season’s F1 cars are permitted to weigh 798 kilograms and have an estimated 1,050 horsepower. 2022 F1 cars have a weight to power ratio of 760 grams per horsepower, roughly three times lower than the required amount.

A significant decrease in power would have to be applied, to race an F1 car at Bathurst. Currently, it would be impossible to hold a Grand Prix there.

If the owners of the circuit were to work alongside the FIA to develop Mouth Panorama into a Grade 1 circuit, that F1 cars require, only then would it become a possibility.

Australia hosted its first Grand Prix since 2019, in 2022, due to COVID-19 disrupting the fixture. Drivers on the Formula One grid showed displeasure for the time zone change, from their regular European scene.

Having to do this twice a year would undoubtedly become unfavourable, taking a toll on the drivers and teams.

Melbourne’s Albert Park has a contract running with the FIA, keeping them on the F1 calendar until 2025.

Although the argument remains strong for F1 to use established, great tracks around the world. Bathurst appears to be a difficult ask for F1, at least in the foreseeable future.

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