It’s hard to imagine the first night of the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix going much worse than it did Thursday night.
Trouble started when Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz ran over a drain cover during Free Practice 1, the first session of the weekend. From there, the session was stopped and eventually cancelled, keeping teams waiting until 2:30 a.m. Friday morning local time to start again.
Fans weren’t allowed back into the stands to watch Free Practice 2. In a joint statement Friday afternoon, Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and Las Vegas Grand Prix CEO Renee Wilm outlined the reasoning behind barring fans from returning.
The statement pointed to risks involved with the late start, specifically public safety and security officials working long shifts, transportation employees reaching the legal limit of hours allowed by federal law, and hospitality staff needing time to resupply guest areas.
But that reasoning’s not enough for some attendees. Both Formula 1 and the Las Vegas Grand Prix are being sued.
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Formula 1 on behalf of 35,000 fans who were told to leave the practice on Thursday night after watching just 9 minutes of racing. https://t.co/zmODDoIMOd
— Las Vegas Locally 🌴 (@LasVegasLocally) November 18, 2023
A breach of contract/negligence lawsuit that seeks class-action status has been filed against F1 owner Liberty Media and Tab Contractors over the Las Vegas GP’s first practice session that spanned all of eight minutes.
All F1 has offered fans is a $200 gift shop credit. pic.twitter.com/y0CcCWjCrC
— A.J. Perez (@byajperez) November 18, 2023
The Las Vegas-based Dimopoulos Law Firm and co-counsel JK Legal & Consulting filed a class-action lawsuit against Formula 1 for forcing fans to leave before Free Practice 2. The suit is seeking at least $30,000 in damages.
Formula 1 offered a $200 discounts at the gift shop for fans who bought single-night tickets for Thursday and not those who bought three-day passes. That’s not enough for Matt Raddue, Jack Diep, Jory Levy, Carlos Mauricio Gil, and James Dayap, the plaintiffs named in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges a breach of contract, deceptive trade practices, and negligence by Liberty Media, Formula 1’s parent company, and TAB Contractors, Inc., the company tasked with track maintenance.
The action states “F1 and/or its contractors and safety organizations had a duty to inspect the track to make sure that it was safe for use by the racers and was race-ready for the ‘Practice Run’ event.”
It adds that “F1 and/or its contractors and safety organizations failed to detect the flaws and/or poor installation of the subject manhole cover sealed by TAB and failed to ensure that the track was race-ready for the ‘Practice Run’ event.”
A race spokesperson said Saturday afternoon that organizers cannot comment on the litigation and stated, “our focus is on ensuring that our fans have an entertaining experience in a safe and secure environment which is always our top priority,” per the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Friday night’s Free Practice 3 and Qualifying sessions went off without a hitch. The Las Vegas Grand Prix wraps up with the Grand Prix race starting at 1:00 a.m., ET. Sunday morning.
Las Vegas Grand Prix: Race schedule, odds, and predictions for Formula 1 on the Strip
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Formula 1, Las Vegas Grand Prix face class-action lawsuit