'Deprived of the experience': F1 fans file lawsuit over Las Vegas Grand Prix

Runner up Charles Leclerc (L) and winner Max Verstappen (R). Credit: AP

Organisers of the Las Vegas Grand Prix are facing a class action lawsuit following the chaos to the start of this weekend’s race on the strip.

Though the race changed hands on multiple occasions, it was Max Verstappen who clinched the win.

Charles Leclerc passed Sergio Perez on the final lap to finish runner-up, while British driver Lando Norris was taken to hospital for precautionary checks after he crashed out on the third lap at 180mph.

But despite the glitzy final showdown, including popstar Justin Bieber waving the chequered flag, fans were not impressed with the Vegas race.

Spectators saw just eight minutes of practice on Thursday after a drain cover broke free and tore a hole into the underbelly of Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari.

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz looks at the bottom of his car after running over a loose manhole cover.

The second running was delayed by two-and-a-half hours, and took place in front of vacant grandstands as furious fans were ejected to comply with local employment laws. Practice finished at 4am on Friday morning.

Spectators who held a $200 general admission ticket for Thursday’s two practice sessions have since been offered a voucher for the same amount to be redeemed on merchandise.

But those in attendance on a three-day pass – the cheapest of which cost $500 (£400) – will not receive any compensation.

On Friday, Nevada-based Dimopoulos Law Firm and co-counsel JK Legal & Consulting filed a lawsuit with the Nevada District Court seeking damages for the 35,000 paying spectators.

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

A spokesperson for Las Vegas Grand Prix 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.”

Earlier, F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali stopped short of issuing an apology in a 650-word joint statement with CEO of the Las Vegas race, Renee Wilm.

“We have all been to events, like concerts, games and even other Formula One races, that have been cancelled because of factors like weather or technical issues,” they said.

“It happens, and we hope people will understand.”

Ahead of the race, winner Verstappen criticised the staging of the Las Vegas Grand Prix – the first in four decades and maiden event on the strip – as “99 per cent show, and one per cent sport”.

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