Las Vegas Grand Prix big gun Fretwell exit


Las Vegas Grand Prix COO leaving after only 5 months Image: Formula 1

Betsy Fretwell, who joined the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix in January as its Chief Operating Officer (COO), resigned from her position recently saying she was returning to her private consulting practice.

‘’ stated that Fretwell, who spent three decades in the public sector and private business leadership roles including nine years as the City manager for Las Vegas, was overseeing community relations as part of her job duties, including navigating the fallout from disruptions to local businesses from last year’s race preparations.

London (UK)-based the Formula One, commonly known as Formula 1 or F1, is the highest class of international racing for open-wheel single-seater formula racing cars sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

Paris (France)-based the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) is an association established on June 20th, 1904 to represent the interests of the motoring organizations and motor car users. It is the governing body for many auto racing events, including Formula One. The FIA also promotes road safety around the world.

The Las Vegas Grand Prix is a motor racing event that forms part of the Formula One World Championship taking place in Paradise, Nevada, in the United States. It is conducted as a night race on a temporary street circuit that includes parts of the Las Vegas Strip. The first race was held on November 18th, 2023.

Lined with upscale casino hotels, the neon-soaked Strip is quintessential Las Vegas. As well as gambling floors, the vast hotel complexes house a variety of shops, restaurants (ranging from mainstream to high-end), and performance venues for music, comedy and circus-style acts. Attractions like the soaring, choreographed Fountains of Bellagio and the High Roller observation wheel draw crowds.

In March, Fretwell oversaw the announcement of early sales exclusively for the Nevada residents of 7,000 general admission tickets to this year’s three-day race.

Fretwell was responsible for the year-round operation of the race, including developing a business surrounding the Grand Prix Plaza, the $500 million centerpiece for the annual race.

Fretwell said the first year of the race was a learning experience for everyone, including the casino industry. She said all parties now have a better understanding of how the race can appeal to the different customer segments.

Observed Fretwell, “It was a new event and it was complicated because it was a street circuit. We have to make sure all these businesses have openings and closings.”

Fretwell’s departure leaves the Grand Prix without a day-to-day local leader.

Renee Wilm, the head honcho of the Grand Prix and the Chief Legal Officer for the Liberty Media Corporation, the Owners of Formula One, said in a statement that Fretwell “played a critical role for us as we navigate the complexities of a race of this magnitude in Las Vegas. In our inaugural year, my focus was intently on the establishment and operation of the race. I now intend to bring that same energy and attention to the Las Vegas community as a whole, this year and for years to come. We wish Betsy nothing but the best.”

‘’ quoted Fretwell as stating, “Over the last several months while serving as the COO of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, we developed a solid plan for this year’s race, established clear lines of communication with the governing agencies and furthered the critical community relationships. “I’m confident that I’m leaving the [Las Vegas Grand Prix] in a stronger position and wish them every success.”

Setting the Table

‘’ stated that Fretwell is leaving this position five months after being hired. She had previously served as the Las Vegas City Manager from 2009 through 2017.

Concluded Wilm, “Fretwell has been instrumental in helping us set the table for a successful race this year.”

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