F1 drivers have their say on controversial $2bn giant orb lighting up Las Vegas Grand Prix

The Sphere opened in September and will feature prominently at the Las Vegas Grand Prix

Steve Keating
Thursday 16 November 2023 12:25 GMT
<p>Irish band U2 have paused their Sphere residency during the Las Vegas Grand Prix </p>

Irish band U2 have paused their Sphere residency during the Las Vegas Grand Prix

The $2.3bn (£1.85bn) Sphere gets a lot of attention in Las Vegas but Formula One drivers say they will ignore the giant glowing orb that is providing one of the spectacular backdrops for Saturday night’s race.

Much of the hype for the race under the lights has been focused on what is certain to be a dazzling dash down the famous Strip but it is Las Vegas’s newest landmark that had the drivers interest on Wednesday.

“It is either going to be really cool or really annoying,” summed up Williams’ American driver Logan Sargeant.

“I hope it’s not obnoxiously overly bright.”

Built as a music and entertainment arena, the Sphere is 366-feet tall and 516-feet wide and billed as the world´s largest spherical structure with an exterior covered in high definition LED screens.

The Sphere will be used for driver introductions and will show some live action but three colours, red, yellow and blue, cannot be displayed to avoid distracting drivers.

Those are the same colours of flags used by marshals to alert drivers to crashes and other on track issues.

“It’s very obvious, it’s huge and we’re not going to miss it,” said Alpha Tauri’s Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo. “But truthfully when you get in that kind of rhythm and that zone you’re aware of everything but you don’t really notice it.

The muisc and entertainment venue opened in September

”I got to my hotel yesterday and it was only this morning that I noticed these massive pieces of art on the wall.

“I didn’t even see them because yesterday I went straight to the room, straight to the bed.

“My attention and my focus was there so I wasn’t even aware of the other things in the room. So it’s a little bit like that.”

Red Bull’s three-time world champion Max Verstappen was unconcerned about losing focus as cars twist around the Sphere but there was one thing he did not want to see on it - his face. “I hope they put something nice on it,” said Verstappen. “That definitely would be a distraction for me, I might shunt into the wall so let’s not do that.”


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