Fans directed out of grandstands, Las Vegas GP, 2023

F1 fans removed from grandstands before second practice in Las Vegas

Formula 1

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The delayed second practice session for the Las Vegas Grand Prix took place in front of empty grandstands after fans who had arrived were told they had to leave.

The start of second practice was pushed back from midnight to 2:30am due to repair works at the track after a loose water valve cover damaged cars in first practice, which started at 8:30pm local time.

The delayed start to the second practice session meant it took place after the security personnel’s shifts were due to end, and the stands therefore had to be cleared. RaceFans understand only limited numbers of fans remained in the fan zones prior to the start of the second practice session.

Footage on social media indicated fans found other places to congregate around the six-kilometre circuit where views of the track were available.

F1 is holding its first event at the Las Vegas Strip Circuit this weekend. The track sessions are being held a day earlier than usual, with first practice taking place on Thursday.

The promoters charged unusually high prices for the tickets, with access to general admission areas retailing for over $800 (£640). Drivers including Charles Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas raised concerns over the cost of attendance before the weekend began.

After practice finished, the race promoter issued a statement explaining the decision not to allow fans into the viewing areas during second practice.

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“There is no higher priority at a Formula 1 race than the safety and security of drivers, fans and staff alike,” said the statement.

“Following last night’s incident involving a water valve cover, the Las Vegas Grand Prix, F1 and the FIA decided to take extra precautions to ensure the integrity of the track prior to the resumption of racing. These additional measures required multiple hours to fully complete, which led to a significant delay in the race schedule.

“Given the lateness of the hour and logistical concerns regarding the safe movement of fans and employees out of the circuit, LVGP made the difficult decision to close the fan zones prior to the beginning of free practice two.

“With a full round of practice successfully completed, LVGP looks forward to providing a safe and entertaining race weekend for all.”

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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47 comments on “F1 fans removed from grandstands before second practice in Las Vegas”

  1. When the promoters of the Las Vegas GP promised an unforgettable fan experience, I’m not sure this is what people were expecting.

    1. I’m so used to the promoter being a third party that I need to keep reminding myself that the promoter is Liberty. Liberty, the commercial rights holder and guardian of the sport we all love, they are the ones making all these bizarre decisions. It is madness. I’ve bit my lounge in the build-up to this race to try give it a chance, but it is clear this race is a failure. The residents don’t want it, the drivers don’t like the circuit, the weekend format is bizarre, there are no support races, the tickets are insanely priced, there are a colossal amount of cringeworthy side events being thrown at us, the PR machine is going to massive lengths to relentlessly tell us this race is a good thing and the circuit itself lasted 9 minutes before it decided to try destroy one of the cars. It’s madness.

      This is the second time in my 31 years of F1 fanaticism that I am just willing the race weekend to finish quickly. The last time that happened was Imola 1994 after Roland’s accident…says it all really.

      1. Argh: “Bit my lounge” = “bit my tongue”.

        1. I prefer “bit my lounge”. More creative and poetic. I can just picture you, and your pet Doberman Pinscher, doing a number on the cushions of your sofa. And the look on your partner’s face when they walk in and see the carnage.

          1. Sorry to disappoint…. I have a pet Himalayan Cat.

  2. Can anyone ask Toto “This is Nothing” Wolff for a comment about this situation?

  3. What a mess yesterday & today have been as a whole.

    1. I think the promoters might be charged with bringing the sport into disrepute.

  4. someone or something
    17th November 2023, 12:11

    That really happened? ‘Farcical’ doesn’t even begin to describe this situation.

  5. So… Rather than pay the staff overtime, or arrange an alternative…

    This is going well, isn’t it?

    1. someone or something
      17th November 2023, 12:39

      And to think that they cheaped out on something that probably ranges in the tens of thousands of dollars, while somewhere around half a billion has already been invested to make this event happen …
      Add to that the absolutely ludicrous ticket prizes and sadly not even satirical anecdotes about very expensive tickets that do not even include a direct view of the track … Someone’s head better roll after the event.

  6. Cash gone down the drain for those people almost literally.

    1. honestly if this isn’t worthy of a refund I don’t know what else is

      1. Shades of Indy 2005. All we needed was an additional driver boycott, or two.

  7. Hahahahahah

    You’re telling me that NOBODY factored in a possible delay on a NEW street track, being raced on at night in the desert in close to freezing temperatures?!


    1. Pretty idiotic and another example of when just some basic common sense could’ve been used to avoid: one would assume the promoter would be smart enough to offer overtime or bonus pay to stay, unless the security is unionized and its rules wouldn’t allow this.

      That would have been a lot cheaper than any possible refunds (or lawsuits) they might be forced to pay. If FP1 wasn’t essentially cancelled before it began, this wouldn’t be quite such a big deal.. But considering both occurred, this is a disaster.

      They better hope they have a good digital database that recorded which tickets were actually used because their best option for keeping costs and blowback down is to refund just those who actually showed at the track and issue whatever practice day tickets cost.

    2. Pretty senseless and another example of when some basic common sense could’ve avoided this had the promoter simply offered overtime or bonus pay to stay, unless the security is unionized and its rules wouldn’t allow this.

      That would have been a lot cheaper than any possible refunds (or lawsuits) they might be forced to pay. If FP1 wasn’t essentially cancelled before it began, this wouldn’t be quite such a big deal.. But, considering both occurred, this is a disaster.

      They better hope they have a good digital database that recorded which tickets were actually used ae their best option for keeping costs + blowback down is to refund just those who actually showed at the track and issue whatever practice day tickets cost.

      1. The winner of the inaugural LV GP said he wouldn’t be going (may not have been invited ) and didn’t like it because (I’ll use the abbreviation)
        they think an ounce of BS is more than a ton of logic
        OK……and he couldn’t wander round and get a hamburger🤔🤔🤔🤔. Must still be heat affected after all these years.

    3. You forget that they didn’t factor in a chance of rain in Belgium?

      1. someone or something
        17th November 2023, 13:27

        Is that an attempt at relativisation? If so, that explains why it makes no sense.
        The rain in Belgium was force majeure, you can’t stop it from falling, you can’t simply alter the nature of the cars. It sucked, but there was no viable alternative.
        In the Las Vegas case, however, there was nothing beyond anyone’s control. A mistake with plenty of precedents happened, but someone in charge apparently had cheaped out and/or failed to take into account that delays can happen. Unlike the non-race at Spa, this situation is 100% human error. Easily avoidable human error.

  8. It is wrong that having paid so much this should happen to them.
    But then again all I am seeing is a few pictures of the same small group of people.
    It’s not as though full stands have been swept clean, just a few die-hard Fans who want their monies worth.

    1. Not sure, might just have been the last resistance while all other fans had already left.

      1. Ah yes – fair point.

    2. There’s pics on FoxSports Australia site showing lines 2 or 3 wide as far as the eye can see being escorted out

  9. Quite comical how they didn’t factor in the security personnel’s shift timings… LMAO.

    Poor fans.. they wait till 230am to finally get a glimpse of the cars, but then the race event shutdown because it wasn’t working hours anymore.

  10. Fyre Festival

    1. F1yre festival

  11. Not only for the F1 fans, but also got to feel for the locals at this point, if they weren’t happy about F1 already, next thing is they are trying to sleep and there’s F1 cars flying round at 3.30am local time

    1. People in Vegas are used to sounds at night anyway.

      1. someone or something
        17th November 2023, 13:34

        That’s a bit like downplaying the effect of being blinded with a laser pointer by pointing out that the optic nerve is receiving photons all the time.
        Technically correct, but come on. F1 is somewhere on the “sound” spectrum, but near the upper end of what the human ear is exposed to. It’s the kind of sound that has you screaming at the top of your lungs 100 metres away from its source to stand any kind of chance of communicating with someone standing directly next to you.

    2. I guess in a way they’re lucky that it wasn’t the V10s / V12s of yesteryear. No-one in those hotels would be sleeping.

  12. Sir, I’m gonna need you to move along. We’ve had reports of some loose drains in the area. It’s not safe for you to remain here. If you choose not to leave then I’m gonna have to place you under arrest. Do you understand?

    1. Apparently going unnoticed NONE of the cops were wearing sunglasses!

  13. This is nothing! How dare Racefans even bring this up after all Liberty has done to expand the sport!

  14. Just disgraceful. The manhole cover has happened before but not this. Wonder what Toto Wolff has to say now…

    1. He won’t say a thing… nobody’s gonna talk about this tomorrow…..

    2. He would tell you that you’re disrespecting all those who worked so hard so you could enjoy this beautiful, the best ever event; and that instead of being thankful and in awe you dare to ask silly questions that he considers a personal attack on his wallet, I mean, the sport. He’d probably send some *beeps* your way too, like when he verbally attacked that journalist. Then he would go to his office and plan how to prevent new teams from joining the sport, so he could sell his shares for a billion, instead of 0.9 billion.
      As for the fans, they did get to enjoy a few minutes of slow action, seeing the drivers do their opening practise laps on a new track. They should be thankful for that too. Next time they can simply transfer the money without showing up and be more eco-friendly by staying home.

  15. Free practise at 02.30… and that’s somehow not even the most absurd thing about this first day in Las Vegas. Whatever happened to not having F1 as in inaugural event at a new venue? Stuff like this makes everyone involved look silly.

  16. This is the Litigious States of America. Class action lawsuit coming. American jurors to decide a case against a company barring more American teams. Won’t end well.

    1. Oh boy, plus potential injunctions pending appeals, seizures, class actions, it’s mind boggling.
      The only thing holding back floodgates would be I doubt Ferrari or any team suing their cash cow

  17. Thought Vegas was a 24-hour place, no clocks in the casinos etc…
    Or did they fly some British jobsworths in to be the hi-vis heroes?

  18. Has this ever happened in F1 history btw? For sure sessions have been cancelled, or even run without fans like during covid… But has a session ever gone ahead, with the fans asked to leave the circuit prior to its commencement? It sounds utterly bizarre. Surely one for the history books?

  19. #f1amatuers

  20. Okay people, move along, there is nothing to see here

  21. Did you pay for your tickets? Oh, you did? They what in the seven heavens are you still doing here? Get out! Everybody get out! I mean, do they expect those fans to ever buy another ticket? I know I wouldn’t. I’d sue them to get my money back.

  22. Well done F1! You made headline news in Australia!

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