Las Vegas GP hit with lawsuit after practice cancelled

A 90-minute practice session began in front of empty grandstands in the early hours of Friday...
A 90-minute practice session began in front of empty grandstands in the early hours of Friday morning. Photo: Reuters
The troubled Las Vegas Formula One Grand Prix has been hit with a class action lawsuit on behalf of the 35,000 people who bought tickets for Thursday’s practice session which was cancelled when Carlos Sainz's Ferrari was 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 before coming to a halt.

What followed was a five-and-a-half hour break while crews removed all 30 covers along the 6.1km layout and filled the holes with sand and asphalt.

A second 90-minute practice session began in front of empty grandstands at 2.30am on Friday (local time), 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 $US200 ($NZ330 million) 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 people who purchased tickets for the practice run.

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

"There are a number of issues with that (compensation)," Steve Dimopoulos told Reuters in a phone interview on Saturday.

"Clearly that ($US200 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 are also peripheral issues of what about the people that came in from out of town and paid for substantial air fare 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 chief executive 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.