Formula 1 fans, upset at being forced to leave the Las Vegas Grand Prix venue early Friday morning before the start of the second practice session, have filed a class action lawsuit.
Las Vegas-based Dimopoulos Law Firm and co-counsel JK Legal & Consulting have sued the Las Vegas Grand Prix and its owner, Liberty Media, in Nevada state court seeking at least $30,000 in damages.
Those who purchased tickets for the opening night of the raceThursday night before Carlos Sainz Jr. hit a water valve cap and damaged his Ferrari. Race officials inspected the course, resulting in a two-and-a-half-hour delay for the second session, which started at 2:30 a.m. local time on Friday. They also extended the training session from an hour to 90 minutes.
Since then, race officials have offered a $200 discount in the official gift shop, but only to those with single-night tickets on Thursday. The majority of fans have three-day passes.
Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali and Rene Willem, CEO of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, issued a statement on Friday saying they had closed the track to spectators for safety and legal reasons.
“We have all been to events, such as concerts, games and even other Formula 1 races, that have been canceled due to factors such as weather or technical issues,” the statement read. “It happens, and we hope people understand that.”
Formula 1 took a big gamble on the $500 million race, whose costs included repaving roads, fencing and promotion. The approximately 4-mile trail runs alongside famous landmarks in Sin City.
Part of what makes the Las Vegas Grand Prix unique is that it is raced on city streets, and the loss of those streets has left some locals frustrated.
Wade Boone told CBS News that construction of the course prevented visitors from accessing his 24-hour convenience store.
“We didn’t need Formula 1,” Boone told CBS News.
He said he had to lay off half of his employees and lost about 80% of his business.
“I mean, we’re here on an island all alone, and we’re drowning,” Boone said. “If they make this bridge permanent, I’ll be done, because there’s no traffic,” Boone said of the 760-foot-long Flamingo Road Bridge. It was built for racing, but has recently been opened to general traffic when not in use for Grand Prix racing.
It is unclear whether the bridge will become permanent or be dismantled once this year’s race is over. according to Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Formula One currently has a three-year contract with the city for Grand Prix racing, with the option to extend for a further seven years after that.
“Hopefully, Formula 1 will learn a lot from this first year and get a lot of things sorted out so it will be a lot smoother next year and the years to come,” Las Vegas resident Jeff Tocco told CBS News.
— Elizabeth Campbell contributed to this report.
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