Some 35,000 spectators took legal action against the organizers of the Las Vegas F1 GP after the hiccup on Thursday during the first tests, disrupted by a problem with a poorly fixed manhole cover, AFP learned on Sunday from the organizers, confirming press information. Spectators had to leave the stands following the interruption of the first free practice session on Thursday evening (Friday morning, Paris time and GMT), after less than ten minutes of driving. The tests were then able to resume but with a considerable delay, and without an audience.
Five people have been named as plaintiffs in this class action which seeks to obtain more than $15,000 in damages, writes the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a media outlet in the state of Nevada. “We will defend the rights of fans who traveled great distances and paid small fortunes to attend the race, but were deprived of that experience,” attorney Steve Dimopoulos, counsel for those spectators, said in a statement. relayed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
An F1 spokesperson, contacted by AFP, confirmed this collective action, without wishing to make further comments. “Our priority is to ensure that our fans have an entertaining experience in a safe and secure environment,” he said. The first free practice session was interrupted after the Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), driving at full speed, hit the cover of a manhole, heavily damaging his car in the process.
First neutralized, the session initially scheduled to last one hour was definitively interrupted, and did not allow the drivers to do more than five laps. All the manhole covers on the urban circuit had to be checked and secured to avoid any further incidents, a decision by the officials which therefore delayed the rest of the day.
Free practice 2, the second and final session initially scheduled for midnight local time (9:00 a.m. Paris time, 8:00 a.m. GMT), began 2.5 hours late. In the meantime, spectators had to evacuate the circuit due to lack of staff.
As a consolation prize, ticket holders for Thursday alone received a $200 voucher to spend in the official Grand Prix stores, F1 announced Friday evening. Friday and Saturday went off without a hitch and the Grand Prix ended with an 18th victory of the season for the Dutchman Max Verstappen, already crowned world champion.
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