A law firm representing Formula 1 fans has sued the organizers of this weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix after they missed out on almost any on-track action during the event’s first day. Spectators were asked to leave the Las Vegas Strip Circuit early on Friday morning when practice sessions were delayed due to track maintenance issues.
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The first practice session of the Las Vegas Grand Prix ended after just eight minutes in the early hours of Friday morning when a drain cover ripped out of the ground and punched a hole in the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz. The second session was then delayed while teams checked every other cover along the 3.85-mile circuit.
As the second practice session of the Las Vegas Grand Prix didn’t start until 2:30 AM PT, fans were left waiting in their seats late into the night. However, as the start of the session neared, security was asked to clear the stands due to staffing issues at the site, reports Autosport. This meant that fans who had paid hundreds of dollars for tickets to be there in person on Thursday saw just eight minutes of on-track action.
Sainz had his weekend ruined by a loose drain cover. Photo: Chris Graythen (Getty Images)
Now, a Nevada law firm is suing the organizers of the Las Vegas Grand Prix after Thursday’s session as fans have been offered no refund and have instead been offered gift vouchers for the Las Vegas Grand Prix shop. As AP News reports:
Formula One fans upset at being forced to leave the Las Vegas Grand Prix venue early Friday morning before the start of the second practice session filed a class-action lawsuit.
Las Vegas-based Dimopoulos Law Firm and co-counsel JK Legal & Consulting filed the lawsuit against the Las Vegas Grand Prix and its owner, Liberty Media, in Nevada state court seeking at least $30,000 in damages.
In a statement shared with Jalopnik, Dimopoulos Law Firm owner and lead attorney Steve Dimopoulos said his firm planned to “vindicate the rights of the fans that traveled great distances and paid small fortunes to attend, but were deprived of the experience.”
So far, Formula 1 has offered $200 gift vouchers to anyone that had purchased a Thursday-only ticket. Fans with full weekend tickets have not been offered any compensation for the affected FP2 and FP1 sessions.
Crews spent hours checking every drain cover along the circuit. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto (Getty Images)
In response to the backlash around Formula 1’s handling of the events of Thursday night, Renee Wilm, CEO of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, and Stefano Domenicali, CEO of Formula 1, issued a joint statement that said:
“We know this was disappointing. We hope our fans will understand based on this explanation that we had to balance many interests, including the safety and security of all participants and the fan experience over the whole race weekend.
“We have all been to events, like concerts, games and even other Formula 1 races, that have been canceled because of factors like weather or technical issues. It happens, and we hope people will understand.”
While a $200 gift voucher may be little consolation to some who shelled out hundreds to be in Vegas in person, it is a damn site better than F1 managed when the Belgian Grand Prix was decimated by rain in 2021.
Back then, Formula 1 completed just a handful of laps for the Grand Prix behind the safety car, before the event was red flagged and never resumed. However, some argued that technically a race had occurred as a winner was crowned and the podium celebration happened.
Once the action was back under way, Las Vegas delivered quite the spectacle. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto (Getty Images)
So after enduring hours of deluge, fans at the track weren’t offered refunds on their tickets by F1 or the circuit. Instead, they were entered into a draw to win less than 200 tickets to the following year’s race. They were also offered an annual F1TV subscription and entry to a special “fan event” ahead of the following year’s race.