Max Verstappen and George Russell react to concerns over Las Vegas Sphere amid ban

Several colours have been banned from The Sphere by F1 for the 2023 Las Vegas GP

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George Russell and Max Verstappen agreed the Las Vegas Sphere could be a distraction when racing around The Strip Circuit, after three colours were banned from being displayed on the giant LED ball while Formula 1 cars are on track.

The Sphere has quickly become an icon of Las Vegas, with plenty of social-media-worthy moments displayed, and U2 taking up a popular residency there.

That residency has been suspended for the duration of the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend as F1 agreed to control the Sphere but red, yellow and blue have all been banned from display, while Verstappen admitted he struggle seeing himself on-screen.

“No, that definitely is a distraction for me, I might end in the wall so let’s not do that,” Verstappen told the press. “I hope they put something nice on it.”

But despite FP2 and qualifying both starting at midnight local time, and rain forecast for the latter, Verstappen insisted he’s not concerned with keeping his focus around the track even if delayed sessions mean even later nights, saying: “Same for everyone, right? I don’t really think about it too much.”

Russell: F1 entering unknown territory

George Russell at 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix | Mercedes / Steve Etherington

Russell added he was excited to see what the grand prix weekend held for F1 entering unknown territory, and hailed the safety move regarding the sphere.

The three colours have been banned to prevent drivers mistaking it for a flag or flag board, a move Russell backed as he looks to bounce back from retiring last time out in Brazil.

“It’s going to be an interesting one,” Russell added. “We’ve often got LED lights around us, but never so much in your peripheral.

“And it’s a pretty spectacular building to say the least, I recognise why they’ve banned those three colours. I think with the vastness of that, if I saw a big red ball on there I’d be backing off thinking it was a red flag.

“But I think that’s one of the exciting things about this race is there’s quite a few. We’re going into a bit of unknown territory with bits and pieces, either.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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