As Las Vegas Grand Prix Ends, F1 Fans File Class-Action Lawsuit Over Disappointing Race

As Las Vegas Grand Prix Ends, F1 Fans File Class-Action Lawsuit Over Disappointing Race Photo Source: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Worldwide motor racing event Formula 1 debuted its first circuit in Paradise, Nevada, this year. Despite this highly anticipated event and hundreds of millions of dollars in preparation, the event was plagued with a number of mishaps which ultimately led F1 fans to file a class action lawsuit against the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

The lawsuit comes after fans were forced to leave early from the Las Vegas Grand Prix venue before the start of the second practice session. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit say they were only able to watch nine minutes of the race before the race came to an end after driver Carlos Sainz Jr. damaged his Ferrari when he drove over a water valve cover. Race officials proceeded to inspect the track, resulting in a nearly 3-hour delay for the second session.

Race officials would go on to offer a $200 discount at the official gift shop for spectators, but the discount would only apply to those who had single-night tickets for the practice session. Many of the fans held three-day passes.

The lawsuit was filed by the Las Vegas-based Dimopoulos Law Firm and co-counsel JK Legal & Consulting on behalf of plaintiffs who attended the practice run. Along with the Las Vegas Grand Prix, the lawsuit names its owner, Liberty Media, and is seeking at least $30,000 in damages on the claim the spectators did not get what they paid for.

The plaintiffs argue that the $200 credit at the gift shop does nothing to remedy the situation considering that race tickets were anywhere from $1,300 to $4,600. However, growing pains for the first time in the city caused ticket prices to fall dramatically as the event went on.

"Clearly that is not a refund that is sufficient. A lot of fans probably don't even want that, they want their money back," shared representing attorney Steve Dimopoulos. "There are also peripheral issues of what about the people that came in from out of town and paid for substantial airfare and hotels."

Following the mishap, Stefano Domenicali, F1 president, and Renee Wilm, CEO of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, shared a statement explaining that the track was forced to close early to spectators because of safety and legal concerns. The Joint statement explained, "We have all been to events, like concerts, games, and even other Formula 1 races, that have been canceled because of factors like weather or technical issues. It happens, and we hope people will understand."

The race was expected to be a highlight of the Las Vegas Strip, bringing in more tourism and bolstering the overall economy. However, the over $500 million investment to renovate the city's streets and get them track-ready has been met with frustration and disappointment from locals, tourists, and F1 spectators alike.

The city has a three-year agreement with F1 to host the Grand Prix, but the option exists to extend the agreement to seven more years after the initial three. With mounting frustration from locals, it's unclear if the extension will come to fruition. Las Vegas resident Jeff Toco shared with CBS News, “Hopefully F1 learns a lot from this first year, and they'll get a lot of things ironed out to where next year and the years to come, it will be more smoother.”

Nadia El-Yaouti
Nadia El-Yaouti
Nadia El-Yaouti is a postgraduate from James Madison University, where she studied English and Education. Residing in Central Virginia with her husband and two young daughters, she balances her workaholic tendencies with a passion for travel, exploring the world with her family.
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