Spectators, Las Vegas Strip Circuit, 2023

F1’s Las Vegas Grand Prix faces lawsuit over grandstand closures

Formula 1

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Formula 1 fans who were unable to watch the delayed second practice session at the Las Vegas Strip Circuit have brought a lawsuit against the event’s promoters.

Dimopoulos Law Firm filed the suit on Friday, along with co-counsel JK Legal & Consulting, on behalf of 35,000 fans who purchased admission to the first day of track action at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Thursday’s running was due to consist of two individual hours of practice, the first starting at 8pm and the second at midnight on Friday morning. But the former was abandoned after eight minutes when a loose water valve damaged two cars.

Track repairs and inspections forced the postponement of the second session until 2:30am on Friday morning. However around an hour before it began fans were told to leave the spectator areas. Local police subsequently removed some people from the viewing areas.

The lawsuit brought against the promoters accuses them of a breach of contract, negligence, and deceptive trade practices. The defendants are named as Liberty Media Corporation, trading as ‘Formula One Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix’, and TAB Contractors, Inc, a civil engineering firm.

A Formula 1 spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit when contacted by RaceFans.

In a statement issued before the legal proceedings were announced, F1 said the delay to the second practice session “created risks for our employees and our fans” which led them to close the viewing areas.

“First, we were concerned about our public safety and security officials who had been in service for a long time and who are being asked to work for the next three nights,” said F1.

“Second, we were concerned about our transportation employees who are responsible for driving our fans back to hotels,” it added. “By federal law, they were bumping up against the amount of time they can legally and safely drive buses.

“Finally, our hospitality staff needed the ability to clean and resupply our guest areas to ensure that the fan experience is optimal for everyone over the coming days.”

F1 subsequently offered fans who purchased single-day passes for the first two practice sessions a $200 voucher for use in the Las Vegas Grand Prix Official Shop.

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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...

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24 comments on “F1’s Las Vegas Grand Prix faces lawsuit over grandstand closures”

  1. hehehe. it seemed like the easy way out, from their office, to hey just tell Security to get rid of the fans who’d made the huge effort to watch F1. Now there’s this publicity, and quite a few mil I bet

  2. Definitely the most American response.

    Honestly a bit surprised F1 didn’t have a backup plan incase if delays like this. Can’t remember when a practice session got delayed like this other than for rain but its a first at a street track and late at night. It would have been 4 hours extra pay no? Even for a few hundred people that’s pocket change to have had them booked for a few hours extra just incase or maybe a backup crew that would come in to support the most drained.
    Not easy I’m sure but that’s what contingency plans are for. Especially when they knew they’d be running late anyway.
    Once it came to Friday though I doubt they could have done anything. Surely only preemptive planning could ah e prevented the exclusion of the fans.

    They definitely deserve more than 200 dollers on the las Vegas f1 shop. If that’s all it is, then they have 200 to spend on only F1 Las Vegas merchandise. Which is almost all generic stuff with “formula one las Vegas” labeled onto it.

    Does anyone know if practise sessions were delayed during previous cases of drains coming loose?
    eg Monaco and most notably George in Baku

  3. They should have a very special podium on Saturday/Sunday/whatever, for the winners at this event: Max Verstappen and a load of lawyers.

  4. What a mess, this will settle for sure… It’s indefensible for F1. It’s a different story when the event can’t go ahead, for sure there’d be terms and conditions regarding that. But kicking the spectators out just before the event begins is unbelievable.

    The safety reasoning is a joke, the reason, as always, is money… Liberty calculated that the payout + loss of reputation costs less than what the wages would have been, but I reckon there’s some faulty math there.

    These are the most die hard fans waiting til 2:30 in the morning just to watch a practice session. That Liberty couldn’t respect that passion for F1 is just sad.

    How hard would it have been to Shepard them all to one or two stands with a handful of officials to watch them and organise some new shuttles.

    Safety is a weak excuse and doesn’t cut it here.

    1. Totally agree – why not just consolidate those who were still there into a single or few stands and advise there are no extra services (food/drink) available.

      Bet a couple of the vendors would have been happy to stick around and walk those stands anyway.

    2. But there’s also the transport issue– And there are VERY strict laws about how many hours in a row a CDL (commercial drivers license) holder can work. Ask Tracy Morgan why.

      Friday sucked for F1, the FIA, the fans, Las Vegas, the teams and the drivers– I’m not surprised a lawsuit is happening, but I expect Liberty will claim force majeure and unforseeable combination of factors.

      The only ones who will win are the lawyers.

  5. Gee, some tourists took a gamble in Las Vegas and lost. Like that never happens. Motor racing is unpredictable and sometimes the unexpected occurs. Lawyers can’t fix everything.

    1. Not everyone is a rich tourist you know. Read a story from local that could only afford to go to practice and was so happy they finally got to see F1… This is what they were treated to.

      It’s a one thing if it got cancelled, it’s something else to get kicked out by police for trespassing and hear the cars starting up on your way out.

    2. Lawyers can’t fix everything.

      True, but getting some money out of it is certainly possible.

      For many this won’t matter (much), but it’ll be some comfort after being treated the way they were. Not everybody gets a weekend pass and can just come back for quali and the race. There are always plenty of Friday, or I guess in this case Thursday, only tickets on sale. It allows different people to come to the races; not everyone wants to watch the race at the track, and others can only afford the often much cheaper practise day tickets.

      For locals its a great way to see some of the action without it costing too much. People who are still there way past midnight are serious fans for sure. They deserved better than what they got from F1. But hey! “Nobody in Europe watches anyway”.

  6. Give this man a cigar!

  7. No-one yet alleging their civil rights have been violated.
    Interesting to see how supportive the estimated 2000 private jets (landing in the area) full of A Listers and celebrities are of F1, or if they choose to engage their own counsel .

    1. Yeah, the $3000 special landing fee was cut to $750 for small planes (not jets) after protests from the Aircraft Pilots and Owners Association protested the (incredibly) high fees.

      1. I understand from a friend the overnight parking fees went from an average of $60 USD to over $2000 USD. Then the APOA got involved, and pointed out the majority of these airports are federally subsidized, and suggested the FAA might want to investigate.

        Apparently the FBO (private operators) at the airports were still quite happy to gouge the hell out of people for landing fees.

        Note– Heard most of this second-hand, so assume this is all generally true, but not specifically accurate. :)

  8. As mentioned, the people staying were die-hard fans and the ones Liberty should be caring about. HA!

    Considering this is America, I would have thought extra efforts would have been made, considering these guys have either paid A LOT for a weekend or as much as they could afford and just had that one day.

    Hearing the cars almost as you’re being kicked out would have been heartbreaking.

    All the reasons they gave are bad ones especially if they could be kept to one stand. They will have security 24/7, drivers’ time only adds up when actually driving? and I’m sure kindly being asked to take rubbish away etc would help with the hospitality “concern”

  9. F1’s black eye is getting thicker and thicker.

    1. This is nothing!

  10. I hope Ferrari sues FOM for the damages to their car car as well. There is a precedent.

  11. Coventry Climax
    19th November 2023, 1:30

    If you’re selling and all you think of -and seemingly can think of- is money, don’t be surprised if your customers have the same thought.

    Let’s turn that around: Don’t expect to attract people with passion with a product that’s just about money.

    Such a perfect day
    Wish I could spend (!) it with you
    You’re gonna reap just what you sow
    Lou Reed

  12. This attorney is always chasing attention. The city is plastered with his billboards and he even had a commercial during the Super Bowl. The local social media was making memes about him suing. This is a dream situation for him

  13. I love that the law firm handling this sells fan merchandise of their own firm on their website.

    https://stevedimopoulos.com/

    1. FANTASTIC, AMAZING, WHAT A BLAST!!!!!!
      I was hoping it wouldn’t be something like a Colombo style outfit with a secretary/receptionist.
      Don’t look like they’ll be out spent or bullied away.

  14. Not good enough.

    The concerns around staff etc are legitimate, but should have been considered before the event began. It’s what we pay them to do.

  15. … a $200 voucher for use in the Las Vegas Grand Prix Official Shop.

    😲

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