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    Zoom Zoom! Grand Prix Racing Arrives in Las Vegas

    Colby Michaels
    Photo by Rink

    By Colby Michaels–

    Formula One (F1) Grand Prix (GP) racing is one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S. and is already a worldwide phenomenon. Here I will provide a primer on how this sport works, and how you can catch the premiere of a brand-new race in Vegas this weekend.

    The sudden surge of interest is thanks to the Netflix series Drive to Survive, which conveys some of the drama that occurs during an F1/GP race. There are five seasons of the series now to watch; that’s how I got into the zoom-zoom of F1 racing. Here is a link to all things Las Vegas GP:

    In F1, there are ten teams with two cars and drivers for a total of twenty racers on the starting grid. As of 2023, there are 23 GP races around the world, with Vegas GP being the newest one added, so this will be a new street race—Like Monaco GP—for all the teams and drivers. That alone is exciting!

    The goal is two-fold for both the teams and drivers. At the end of GP racing season, there are two categories at play: The Constructors’ Cup, which is team/engineering standings, and the Drivers’ Cup standings. These are determined by an accumulation of points after each race.

    What’s important about finishing in the top 10 is that there is serious money to be had—I’m talking tens of millions, depending on where a driver or team finishes. At the end of the F1 racing season, the difference between placing first and tenth is hundreds of millions of dollars. The profit teams make is surprisingly small considering what money is won because of costs; most of the ca-ching goes into the engineering of the race cars and to the drivers and staff. Teams make money from outside the track, though, through merch, advertising, sponsorships, and more.

    I could talk about the geeky, technical side, but I won’t go down that rabbit hole. There are many YouTube videos that can further beef up your knowledge. For example, here is a helpful F1 rookie viewer primer to get you started:

    As an F1 newbie fan myself, I will cover one important element of the races: tyres! (That’s not a typo.) Simply put, there are three types of tyres: soft, medium, and hard (compound). It all depends on the condition of the track, the length of track, and how many laps, as well as weather condition factors.

    Soft tyre is used for fast driving, Medium is exactly that, not as fast but more durable, and hard is used for durability, but is not as fast. Tyre degradation is a big deal, as I have learned. For example, choosing the right kind helps reduce the number of pit stops during a race.

    As for the drivers themselves, there is eye candy for everyone! There are daddies, zaddies, twunks (twinks who are hunks), and plenty of international flavor among the twenty. Some are rookies, while others are long term vets. Almost all have a strong social media presence, and are hugely popular around the world. (Aside from the new Vegas race, there are already two GP races in the U.S.: Miami and Austin.)

    November 16–18 will be the long-awaited and aforementioned Las Vegas Grand Prix. There will be three practice runs, then a qualifying run (pole position amongst the 20 drivers), and the actual Grand Prix on Saturday night at 10 pm. Yes, night racing! P.S. Lando Norris is Colby’s Crush.

    You can catch all the zoom zoom action on ESPN+. I would advise listening and learning from the commentators, who provide valuable insights and observations about the teams and drivers and the drama behind the scenes.

    I hope you find this F1 primer helpful. While watching cars go round and round might at first seem a bit dull, the unpredictability of what could happen on the track—crashes, bumping, overtakes, lead changes—is what makes F1/GP racing exciting and fun! The last GP race in Sao Paulo had two crashes, and five drivers (all okay) DNF (Did Not Finish) the 71-lap course.

    Gym Bag Extras

    The San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Logan Webb has been named one of the three finalists for the Cy Young award. Congrats, Webby!

    After a three-game losing skid, the San Francisco 49ers made a huge splash at the trade deadline, acquiring defensive end Chase Young from the Washington Commandeers. This reunites Young with Nick Bosa (both #1 picks in their respective drafts). The 49ers now have a d-line with Ohio State Buckeye Bookends! I know some of you want to “bookend” with Bosa!

    The Golden State Warriors are off to a decent start to the season, placing seventh as of this writing in the Western Conference with six wins and five losses. Chef Curry has been cooking!

    Colby Michaels is a San Francisco Ingleside native. He grew up as a sportsball fan, and has lent his volunteer time fundraising for the Imperial Court, the San Francisco Ducal Court, and Krewe de Kinque. In addition to sports, he also enjoys sci fi and mysteries.

    Published on November 16, 2023