Daniel Ricciardo believes Formula 1 should ideally try and “remain accessible” to everybody amid the extortionate ticket pricing for this weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix.

The inaugural visit to the Las Vegas Strip Circuit sees F1 return to Sin City for the first time in 41 years and marks the third round to be held in the United States this season.

To celebrate the occasion, the venue held an opening ceremony on Wednesday night, featuring musical acts and the drivers being introduced to fans on raised platforms.

However, the event saw a multitude of unattended seats following reports earlier in the week that tickets were still available for the weekend at a dramatically reduced price.

Originally, the cheapest three-day standing-only general admission tickets cost roughly $500, dwarfing the price points of every other grand prix on the calendar. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, a host of absurd hospitality packages have been offered for seven-figure sums to satisfy high-rollers.

Ricciardo concedes that a large proportion of F1 fans are being excluded, adding that he would prefer if the chance to attend was available to people from every background.

When asked about the concerning matter, Ricciardo said: “It’s hard. As with all things, you need a balance, but you do need, I did hear some entry-level prices. I’m well aware not everyone can afford those.

“So I would love that everyone can have the option to attend. It’s obviously not my, I’m not the business behind the sport. Maybe, I don’t want to say it’s my ignorance, but I would still love that a general admission is affordable for everyone with whatever job they have.

“Of course, if there’s then some crazy packages and that, if people want to spend that money, all good, so be it. But yeah. I guess I don’t like to hear that we would have liked to have come but we simply couldn’t afford it. That’s obviously a little bit tough. But I don’t know.

“Maybe just this is that; I’m not saying maybe I agree with it, but maybe this is that outlier of a weekend where that’s the crowd that they kind of want to go after, and if that’s what it is, then obviously that’s their kind of business plan. I don’t know. I’m not really sure where they are with it.

“I obviously don’t like when things are, obviously everyone has got different lifestyles and levels of income. It would be nice that the sport remains accessible for everyone.”

(L to R): Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) AlphaTauri and Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) AlphaTauri – Opening Ceremony. 15.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Las Vegas Grand Prix, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Preparation Day.

World Champion Max Verstappen expressed his displeasure at being involved in the ceremony by declaring that the Las Vegas GP was “99% show, and 1% sporting event”.

But Ricciardo has disagreed with his ex-team-mate’s view of the latest inclusion to the calendar, citing how the schedule will remain identical to the conventional format.

Asked to pinpoint the split dedicated to the sporting spectacle and the entertainment side, Ricciardo said: “Um, well look, obviously we’re going to have a race. It’s a normal schedule. I think if it was a weird schedule where we don’t really get any practice and they send us out there and whatever, I’d speak differently about it.

“But I think it’s… I think it’s going to be pretty cool to be honest. I’m a fan. It’s early, but so far, obviously logistics, just now, we realized logistically putting this thing together, I wouldn’t wish that job upon anyone. So obviously navigating through, it’s a bit of a maze right now. But I think it’s going to be pretty cool to have a race here.”

The Australian admits that he has been left in “awe” that the sport has been able to construct an F1 grand prix that will see the drivers race along the Las Vegas Strip.

He added: “When they said it was going to happen, I think probably a lot of people at first thought, oh yeah, it might be, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it’s a fair way out. So yeah, Vegas, but it’s not probably really going to be Vegas, Vegas. To kind of pull it off on the Strip is pretty cool.

“I’m a little bit, don’t get me wrong, I like the races where you might even stay out and rent an Airbnb and be a bit isolated, whatever. But I’m also a sucker for Vegas. So being here in amongst it, I think it’s pretty cool. It’s also Wednesday. By Saturday, maybe my answer is different.

“But right now, I’m cool with it. I’m probably just more in awe that they’ve put this together. Last night, we drove on the track to have a little bit of a look, because a track walk at 2 a.m. was a little bit too late for me. But that whole Strip, that long DRS straight, it’s probably going to be the most exciting straight we’ve ever driven on. I’m excited.”

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