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F1: Las Vegas Grand Prix confirmed for next year as racing chiefs hit jackpot with first £1bn deal

Formula One hit the jackpot in Las Vegas last night by sealing what is likely to represent the first £1billion deal in the sport’s history.

After months of negotiations, F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali flew from London to Sin City’s iconic Strip to announce the Las Vegas Grand Prix will join the calendar next year.

In a break with recent tradition, the 50-lap extravaganza will take place on a Saturday on one of the two last weekends in November, probably at 10pm local time — scheduling that guarantees F1 mass projection.

Formula One officials have confirmed that the Las Vegas Grand Prix will be added to next year’s calendar

The 3.8-mile circuit will consist of 50 laps and roar past iconic venues such as Caesars Palace

The 3.8-mile circuit will consist of 50 laps and roar past iconic venues such as Caesars Palace

F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali may have secured the sport's first ever £1billion deal

F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali may have secured the sport’s first ever £1billion deal

While Domenicali is cock-a-hoop at landing the fabled venue for the glamor it lends the sport, the financial rewards are eye-watering owing to the terms of the contract. Rather than receive a fee from the host city, as is usually the case, F1 will themselves promote the event.

Sources believe this could accrue more than £100million per race. If the arrangement lasts for a decade, as is minimally hoped, the billion-pound mark should be exceeded, making Las Vegas the most lucrative grand prix ever.

Ticket sales, merchandise revenues and sponsorship deals will fall straight into Formula One’s bank account.

Not that Vegas will miss out. As an insider put it: ‘The local authorities have taken the view that any disruption the race will cause to the area is well worth the trouble. They will make money hand over fist in the casinos, hotels and restaurants. It is good for business all round. That is the conclusion all parties have come to.’

So a 14-corner, 3.8-mile track will come to life on the neon-lit Strip, roaring past such iconic landmarks as Caesars Palace, the MGM Grand and the Belaggio at speeds of up to 212mph. The circuit design includes a high-speed cornering sequence and a single chicane section.

Las Vegas will become the third grand prix in America. Miami makes its debut in May, with Austin, Texas, keeping its slot in October.

That none of the trio will be dropped makes good on Liberty Media’s ambition to break into the US market as stated when they bought the sport in 2017. There is, however, no thought at the moment of adding a fourth Stateside GP.

F1 world champion Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton at the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix

F1 rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are now set to be battling it out in Sin City next year

Vegas will become home to the third American Grand Prix on the F1 calendar along with Miami and Austin

Vegas will become home to the third American Grand Prix on the F1 calendar along with Miami and Austin

The Las Vegas dream goes back to the stewardship of Chase Carey, the mustachioed American who succeeded Bernie Ecclestone as chief executive. But Domenicali, who is now into his second year at the helm, brought fresh impetus to the transatlantic discussions, with talks accelerating from walking pace to a sprint in the last eight months.

Ace sportsmail reported last October, Las Vegas officials visited Austin last year — a roaring success with a 140,000-strong crowd — to see what hosting F1 entails. Domenicali, for his part, laid on VIP treatment, while insisting that any Las Vegas GP absolutely must be on The Strip.

He did not want a repeat of the early-Eighties Las Vegas flop, held in the parking lot of Caesars Palace. Nor did he wish talks to tarry as in Miami, where local residents’ opposition delayed progress for four painful years.

Las Vegas proved an easier nut to crack. Domenicali struck up good relations with the main players: Steve Hill, chief executive of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and Steve Sisolak, the Nevada governor. Both were at last night’s announcement, along with Liberty Media president Greg Maffei, who called the tie-up ‘the perfect marriage of speed and glamour’.

Vegas officials visited last year's Grand Prix in Austin to see what hosting an Formula One race entails

Vegas officials visited last year’s Grand Prix in Austin to see what hosting an Formula One race entails

Domenicali laid on VIP treatment and insisted that their Grand Prix should be held along the Strip

Domenicali laid on VIP treatment and insisted that their Grand Prix should be held along the Strip

An official statement said: ‘Formula One and Liberty Media will work together to promote the race in partnership with Live Nation Entertainment and the LVCVA, as well as Founding Partners Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International, and Wynn Las Vegas and Presenting Partners MSG Sphere, Resorts World Las Vegas and The Venetian Resort.’

Domenicali will find fewer problems selling this race to drivers than the Saudi Arabia GP, which several star protagonists wanted to sit out after a missile strike on an oil depot 12 miles away.

‘Las Vegas is known around the world for its excitement, hospitality, thrills, and the famous Strip,’ said Domenicali. ‘We cannot wait to be here next year.’

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