The much-rumored news that Formula One would be heading to Las Vegas finally broke last week.

The city will host the Las Vegas Grand Prix in November 2023, when we’ll see the spectacular sight of The Strip having F1 cars hurtling past the iconic hotels at over 300km/h. It’s a coup for both the city and the sport, with Vegas sure to see a surge of room bookings and F1 capitalizing on America’s booming interest since Netflix’s Drive to Survive first broadcast in 2019.

I can’t deny it – I am massively excited about the race when looking at it as a single event. What’s not to like? A night-time F1 Grand Prix that goes down one of the most famous bits of tarmac in the world with a backdrop like no other. And, though I hate to admit it, on a street track with a layout that looks like there’ll be good overtaking opportunities. I know I’ll be trying to see if my schedule can have some Nevada sunshine late next year!

However, let’s pull back a little. It’s another new circuit from the modern-day F1 under Liberty Media’s control that looks to have the hallmarks of almost every other new venue they’ve announced. Miami, Jeddah, and the ill-fated Hanoi tracks are temporary inner-city street circuits. Qatar’s debut at Losail last year was a stop-gap, with the streets of Doha reportedly set for hosting duties from 2023 and beyond. F1 wants to take over a city like Las Vegas for a weekend, draw in a crowd, then rinse and repeat once the chequered flag drops.

Now, you may guess that I’m not a particular fan of F1 racing on street circuits. Monaco is a necessary evil that tradition dictates, and I’m okay with that. Singapore is a two-hour snoozefest, and Baku is only interesting because of its long straights that break up the otherwise 90-degree corner after 90-degree corner nightmare. As for Jeddah, Mick Schumacher’s terrifying 170mph crash and 2021’s two red flag periods tell you everything you need to know.

F1 is moving away from its roots with this change in direction. Purpose-built racing facilities like the Nurburgring, Portimao, Sepang, Istanbul Park, and Hockenheim don’t seem to have a place in this new-look Formula 1, while unraced roads in Miami, Vegas, and Doha are in its future. I’m concerned about this and not (just) because of the move away from its 72-year legacy.

No, my worries are over the access that F1’s feeder series will have in this brave new world. Junior drivers don’t see a city close down just for them to race around their streets. Their days in Formula 4, Formula Regional, and even honing their skills in a second-hand road car always come at proper, dedicated racetrack facilities. The relevance of that circuit experience may lessen if Formula 1 turns its back on these so-called classic tracks.

With F1 limited to 24 Grand Prix events in 2024 and Las Vegas and Qatar contracted in, combined with the return of the Chinese Grand Prix (Covid-depending, of course), one track from this year’s calendar must go. The speculation is that Spa-Francorchamps or Paul Ricard – both out of contract in 2023 – face the chop. These tracks are the proving grounds for F1’s future talent; getting rid of them is not a positive step for the next generation.

Of course, the feeder series will continue to race at these venues with or without F1’s attendance, but the problems I see are two-fold. Firstly, the lucky few who make it to the top tier will do so with less relevant track experience for a championship heading to have a quarter of its calendar as street circuits. But, more worryingly, it’s taking the prestige and thus the finances away from venues that are essential for a young driver’s progress.

Even when F1’s direct feeder series, F2, supports their big brother at Jeddah or Baku, the drivers can spend much of their time in the races trundling behind a safety car or virtual safety car due to the frequency of incidents. Unfortunately, that’s not how you train the future of F1, yet that’s what we’re seeing happen – look at the handful of green flag laps from F2’s Saudi Arabia Sprint Race for proof.

So, while it’s all glitz and glamor on the surface, with F1 happy to walk away with the money that Jeddah, Miami, and Las Vegas are paying, take a look a little closer, and the shine may look a bit more like a short-term veneer. F1, I’m sure, can continue down its street circuit future with great success, but it should never forego its roots of pitting the best drivers in the best cars against each other on the best tracks in the world. Forgetting its past could well be at the detriment of its long-term future.

Juri Vips #8 Hitech, during round seven of the FIA Formula 2 Championship at Jeddah Corniche Circuit, in Saudi Arabia on December 3-5, 2021. // SI202112040237  // Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull Content Pool //