‘We had a little bit of a celebration’: Alan Jones remembers F1’s success in Vegas | System One

FSystem 1 lastly arrived on the Strip with the Las Vegas Grand Prix happening within the early hours of Sunday morning, 41 years after the game final visited the town when it did not make it previous the parking zone at Caesars Palace. . These races in 1981 and 1982 are solely a footnote in System 1 historical past, and no hint stays of the circuit, however at the very least one driver nonetheless has fond reminiscences.

Eighties conferences could not stand in better distinction to the song-and-dance extravaganza that System 1 has placed on within the coronary heart of the town this weekend, together with an enormous straight boulevard down Las Vegas Boulevard, full with all of the landmarks. , the fountains of Bellagio, Caesars, Venice and Paris, which give the backdrop that System 1 needed for its showcase occasion.

In 1981, there was no collective settlement to host the race between the casinos as there’s this 12 months, nor approval from the town, so the observe was confined to the Caesars Palace parking zone and the land adjoining to it, giving the meet its personal character. The title is Caesars Palace GB. The on line casino took 4 years to barter internet hosting the race and spent some huge cash constructing the observe however its area limitations supplied uninspiring fare.

The end result was that the flat, 14-turn, 2.2-mile counterclockwise course that looped backwards and forwards on itself was aesthetically uninspiring, missing any character or actually landmarks. Town was not at its finest because the race was held on a Saturday afternoon in sweltering warmth, and circumstances weren’t encouraging: Las Vegas undoubtedly seems at its finest at night time.

The relentless collection of corners with no actual straights to talk of and even quick corners was punishing for the automobiles but additionally for the drivers. Alan Jones, who received the world championship for Williams in 1980, would grasp it in 12 months one when it was the ultimate race of the season and the championship decider.

“It was very popular and irritating, and there have been a number of corners the place lots of people had neck ache, and I used to be one in every of them,” Jones says. “The final six or seven laps, I used to be going by way of the left hander and my head was falling to the appropriate, and I needed to anticipate the right-hander to come back again up once more.”

Jones was not among the many title favorites in that race, however the Australian, now 77, needed to win, in what was set to be his last System 1 race after he introduced he would retire on the finish of the 12 months. the chapter. He additionally felt no need to do any favors for his teammate Carlos Reutemann, who was competing with Nelson Piquet for the drivers’ title.

Reutemann led by a degree however the Argentine backed out of a pre-arranged deal within the second race of the season in Brazil, profitable at Jones’ expense. After qualifying second, Jones took the lead from the beginning and by no means appeared again, confidently beating Alain Prost within the Renault by 20 seconds.

Reutemann, who began from pole, had issues along with his gearbox from lap three and was overtaken by Piquet on lap 17. The Argentine dropped out of the factors and Piquet completed fifth and the 2 factors he wanted for the title.

Alan Jones driving at the start of the 1981 Caesars Palace Grand Prix.
Alan Jones driving at the beginning of the 1981 Caesars Palace Grand Prix. Pictures: David Phipps/Motorsport Photos

Piquet climbed from his Brabham, bumped into the group after which fainted from warmth exhaustion. Jones had no love misplaced with the Brazilian after their title struggle the earlier 12 months and remembers his antics in Las Vegas as being very thrilling. “When it comes to fatigue and warmth, it is humorous when the race stops and also you get out of the automobile and every part goes again to regular,” he says. “After all Pique saved going, fainting and screaming for the paramedics…”

Skip the previous newsletter promotion

The race is just not remembered fondly by many, however Jones believes the meet deserved a bit of higher. “I do not know who the individuals who criticize it are, perhaps all of the uncommon consultants who’ve by no means raced a automobile of their lives,” he says. “I’ve raced on equally tight tracks in Europe. The racing was very technical.

Jones at all times took his occupation significantly and didn’t give in to the temptations of the town till he obtained out of the automobile as a winner. “I used to be there to do a job, and this was one hundred pc what I used to be meant to do,” he says. “So I did not get pleasure from among the advantages, effectively, not till that night time. I can not say what I did however we had a little bit of a celebration.

The race continued for an additional 12 months. It didn’t entice the eye anticipated and was dropping cash. The place the observe now stands is the Discussion board Procuring Heart, a part of Caesars Palace, however the last win of Jones’ profession stays firmly etched within the reminiscence at the very least.

“There was an excellent crowd, ambiance, I completely loved it, loved the entire thing. Particularly profitable it,” he says wryly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *