December 10, 2023

Mercedes’ British driver George Russell races during the first practice session for the Las Vegas Formula One Grand Prix on November 16, 2023, in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

The troubled Las Vegas Formula One Grand Prix has been hit with a class action lawsuit after the race’s first practice session was canceled when Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari was badly damaged by a loose drain cover.

The highly-anticipated first action on the neon-lit circuit, which includes a section along the famed Las Vegas Strip, lasted a little over eight minutes on Thursday before coming to a halt.

What followed was a five-and-a-half-hour break while crews removed all 30 covers along the 3.8-mile layout and filled the holes with sand and asphalt.

A second 90-minute practice session kicked off in front of empty grandstands at 2:30 a.m. on Friday morning, long after fans had been cleared out in a move officials said was a necessary safety precaution.

Las Vegas Grand Prix officials attempted damage control, offering $200 merchandise vouchers to single-day ticket holders.

The compensation did not extend to those who had purchased three-day passes.

Dimopoulos Law Firm and co-counsel JK Legal & Consulting said they had filed a class-action lawsuit against the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix (LVGP) in Nevada state court on Friday on behalf of the 35,000 people who purchased tickets to Thursday’s practice run which was canceled.

The lawsuit named Formula owners and race promoters Liberty Media Corporation, DBA Formula One Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix and TAB Contractors as defendants.

“There are a number of issues with that (compensation),” Steve Dimopoulos told Reuters in a phone interview on Saturday. “Clearly that ($200 merchandise voucher) is not a refund that is sufficient.

“A lot of fans probably don’t even want that, they want their money back.

“There is also peripheral issues of what about the people that came in from out of town and paid for substantial airfare and hotels.”

The decision to send fans home was made out of concern for public safety and security officials who had been on duty for a long time, LVGP CEO Renee Wilm and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, said in a joint statement.

Qualifying took place on Friday and was completed without incident.

Formula One did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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