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George Russell reveals ‘huge issue’ with Las Vegas GP

Cold desert temperatures could wreck havoc in Nevada when F1 visits Las Vegas for the first time in 41 years

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George Russell expects tyre graining to be a huge issue at the eagerly-anticipated 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix this weekend.

The race in Nevada returns to the calendar for the first time since 1982 but it will not be hosted at Caesars Palace, taking place at a temporary street circuit that will tour the city.

It’s expected that there will be a big reliance on top speed as over 3.5km of the 6.2km circuit will be taken in a straight line.

“I don’t think it’s going to be cold to be honest,” Russell told the media. “But tyres are going to be the biggest factor and that’s going to be a real challenge.

“Especially that with the three softest compound of tyres, graining is going to be a huge issue, so I’m not too sure what to expect.”

What is graining in F1?

Graining refers to a process of tyre degradation during which the rubber suffers small tears, causing ridges to appear on the exterior surface.

It occurs when the tyre is failing to grip to the track properly and drags along the surface, damaging the integrity of the tyre.

Pirelli have been F1’s tyre supplier since 2011 | Peter Fox / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

When this happens, the tears are not flung off the car. They actually end up sticking to the wheel and thus becomes a compounding problem by interfering with the grip of the tyres further.

It often happens when a tyre is outside of the ideal heat cycle that it needs to optimally perform, and has previously been problems at the 2020 Eifel GP and the 2020 Portuguese GP.

Norris forecasts weather issue for Las Vegas GP

Lando Norris added to the concerns regarding the weather in the winter race in the desert, this time about the physicality of the race. Vegas averages temperatures of seven degrees Celsius in November, meaning it will be bitterly cold for the exposed drivers.

“I don’t think there’s a lot more you do than the normal,” Norris said to the media. “I’ve already done my simulator work for for Vegas. The temperature is one to prepare for in terms of a driver’s hands.

“You need your hands to work well when you’re driving so being on top of all of that is something we’re already looking into, so it’s just simple things, sometimes hand warmers and gloves.”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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