Formula One hit with lawsuit on behalf of 35,000 furious fans over Las Vegas GP farce

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz races around the Las Vegas track
F1 fans in Las Vegas are furious at the way they have been treated - Mike Blake/Reuters

A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix as the fallout from Thursday night’s lost track action continues.

The suit, filed by Dimopoulos Law Firm and co-counsel JK Legal & Consulting in Nevada District Court on behalf of 35,000 fans, alleges breach of contract, negligence and deceptive trade practices.

Formula One came in for renewed criticism on Friday after refusing to apologise or issue refunds to disgruntled fans who witnessed just eight minutes of track action on a farcical opening day.

Race-goers, some of whom had paid thousands of pounds for their tickets, were left furious after waiting in the cold for almost six hours to watch a heavily-delayed second practice, only to be forcibly removed from the circuit half an hour before it started.

Furious fans were ejected from second practice to comply with local employment laws
Furious fans were ejected from second practice to comply with local employment laws - Finn Blake/Reuters

Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali and Las Vegas Grand Prix CEO Renee Wilm issued a lengthy statement on Friday justifying their actions, explaining the delay was down to FIA staff being forced to make repairs to the circuit after a manhole cover became dislodged in FP1.

“We have all been to events, like concerts, games and even other Formula 1 races, that have been cancelled because of factors like weather or technical issues,” read the statement. “It happens, and we hope people will understand.”

Dominicali and Wilm added that fans were told to leave due to “concern about our public safety and security officials, transportation employees and hospitality staff.”

However, the statement was notable for the complete absence of any sort of apology, merely describing the chain of events as “disappointing”.

It is understood that was a legal decision as to apologise might have constituted an acceptance of liability, which could have meant an obligation to issue refunds.

As opposed to a full refund, single-day ticket holders have instead been offered a $200 voucher for the Las Vegas Grand Prix official shop. Telegraph Sport went to a merchandise store at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to see what that might buy you. A Mercedes hoody was $210, a Ferrari hoody was $328. Aston Martin team issue caps were $100.

Those with full, three-day tickets will not be reimbursed at all for Thursday night’s lost action.

“We will vindicate the rights of the fans that traveled great distances and paid small fortunes to attend, but were deprived of the experience,” Dimopoulos Law Firm owner and lead attorney Steve Dimopoulos said in a statement.

A spokesperson for LVGP said: “We cannot comment on the litigation. Our focus is on ensuring that our fans have an entertaining experience in a safe and secure environment which is always our top priority.”

Formula One is promoting the Las Vegas race itself, having invested £500 million of its own money to buy and develop the land and paddock complex. Ticket and hotel prices for the first Formula One grand prix to be held in Las Vegas in over 40 years are eye-watering, with some hospitality packages costing over $150,000 for the race weekend.

Despite anticipating capacity crowds of over 100,000 each day, the grandstands on Thursday were sparsely attended. A spokesperson for F1 said 70,000 attended on Friday, which is better although still some way short of expectations.

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