Agnes Carlier sat down with preeminent Formula 1 track builders Hermann and Carsten Tilke, to discuss some of their creations including a very special Las Vegas track to look forward to on 18 November.
The Las Vegas Grand Prix, organized by F1 in conjunction with the Las Vegas Convention and Business Authority, is set to be one to the highlights of the 23-race F1 calendar.
According to Tilke, in his interview below F1 fans can expect “something special for sure is Las Vegas” which is the penultimate race of the 2023 season.
The Saturday night race is slated for 18 November 2023. The street race will include sections of the fabled Strip, winding between hotels and casinos, and alongside the Bellagio Fountain.
The 3.8-mile circuit will have 14 corners with pits and paddocks to be located off East Harmon Avenue before the circuit heads back to Koval Lane and then loops around the still-under-construction MSG Sphere.
Tilke is well known in F1 circles, some of his tracks revered others not so much, and are in their own words: “one of the most experienced companies when it comes to design, planning and construction management pertaining to major projects within the automotive industry and motorsports sector, especially racetracks and proving grounds.”
A number of high-profile venues have the Tilke Engineers & Architects signature, including: Sepang International Circuit, Bahrain International Circuit, Shanghai International Circuit, Istanbul Park Racing Circuit, Valencia Street Circuit, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Yas Marina Circuit, Korea International Circuit, the Buddh International Circuit, Circuit of the Americas, Sochi Autodrom, Kuwait Motor Town, Hanoi Street Circuit, Jeddah City Circuit and, of course, the forthcoming Las Vegas street course.
Exclusive Hermann and Carsten Q&A with Agnes Carlier
What is the most iconic F1 track?
Hermann: Every track is different. We put our experience into every track. You have to ask the drivers. Jeddah is very exceptional. Also, Bahrain, so it’s difficult to say. Something special for sure is Las Vegas.
The toughest F1 Track to drive on
Hermann: Jeddah is very demanding.
And the most beautiful track?
Hermann: Nürburgring, the Nordschleife! Of the new tracks, it is Bahrain. I like it very much. They do a good job and maintain it well. It has a good atmosphere, I like it very much.
Working in Saudi Arabia…
Carsten: Saudi is also a country that has changed in the past years. Everyone feels comfortable here. People arrive here and are afraid but then everyone notices the country is going in the right direction. It started with Formula E racing. Then concerts. Tourists are coming, the country is opening up. We are in a good direction.
Do you prefer permanent or non-permanent or race tracks?
Carsten: Jeddah is a non-permanent track but can become a permanent track. In the end, the Saudis need to know what they want to do with their track. Some buildings are not temporary.
How does it compare to the Riyad project you are working on?
Carsten: Completely different surroundings. Here we are directly at the sea. It is built around a beautiful landscape. It is really nice, but we are not revealing too much. It will soon be released.
So, you did a good job in Saudi?
Carsten: Yes… it was hard work from everyone so many different parts had to play together to make it happen. The Ministry of Sports, the Saudi Motorsport Federation, the contractor who built it, it’s everyone involved with the project. Every year they improved and now it is very good. We are very satisfied to have done our first circuit together with F1.
Hermann: Las Vegas for this year, Qatar this year. Then we have two F1 tracks and we have some smaller tracks in the USA, in Tennessee for instance. Lots of tracks. Motorsport is growing. Some tracks are in the pipeline. Not yet decided or signed up yet…