LAS VEGAS — Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has called on Formula One to be wary of the impact this weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix will have on residents of the city.
The sport returns to Las Vegas for the first time in 40 years this weekend as it prepares to race around a 3.8-mile street circuit amid the city’s most famous landmarks.
The grand prix, which has been hyped as “the biggest sporting event in America” by a number of the commercial partners involved, is viewed by some local residents as an unwanted disruption.
Although many of the casinos that line Las Vegas’ famous Strip are on board with F1’s $500-million investment, those in service jobs such as taxi drivers and hotel cleaners have raised concerns.
For months their routines and commutes have been impacted by preparations for the event and they struggle to see an upside as Saturday night’s race looms into view.
“I’ve heard there’s been a lot of complaints about the event being here from the locals,” Hamilton told Sky Sports News. “I think we have to be respectful of the locals here, so many people working so hard — there’s a lot of money and wealth in this city.
“We’ve got to make sure people are taken care of. We can’t be a circus that shows up that’s all glitz and glamour and people are affected negatively by it, in my opinion.”
Speaking in a press conference after the race’s opening ceremony on Wednesday night, Hamilton added: “Hopefully it’s just something just short term, maybe in the future we’ll be able to do things better so people aren’t disrupted as much.
“I’m really proud of my [Mercedes] team, we just had 15 kids from local communities come in today from underprivileged schools, to see the garage. That’s stuff we need to do more of, and it’s something every team and the sport should be doing more of that stuff.”
Hamilton acknowledged F1’s desire to capitalise on the growth of the sport’s popularity in the United States, but hopes the Las Vegas race, which currently has a three-year contract, will eventually appeal to local residents.
“This is one of the most iconic cities there is and unique cities that they have here amongst the other amazing cities they have in America,” he said. “All the lights, the…