Around 35,000 spectators who paid top dollar for Formula 1’s return to Las Vegas sued race organizers after a chaotic start in which the initiation ceremony took placelast Friday.
The first free practice session was seriously disrupted by a problem with a loose shaft cover at Bellagio, which severely damaged the Ferrari of Spaniard Carlos Sainz.
Spectators had to leave their seats in the stands, while drivers drove the famous Strip for only eight minutes.
All manhole covers on the town circuit had to be checked and secured to avoid further incidents, a decision by officials which therefore delayed the rest of the day.
The tests finally resumed after a 2 hour and 30 minute wait, but the public could not return to their seats due to a lack of staff.
$15,000 in damages
Five people are named as plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit, which seeks more than $15,000 in damages, according to Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“We will defend the rights of fans who traveled long distances and paid small fortunes to attend the race, but were deprived of that experience,” attorney Steve Dimopoulos, representing those spectators, said in a statement carried by the media.
An F1 spokesman, contacted by AFP, confirmed this collective action, declining to comment further.
“Our priority is to make sure our fans have an entertaining experience in a safe and secure environment,” he said.
As a consolation prize, Thursday-only ticket holders received a $200 voucher to spend in official Grand Prix shops, F1 announced on Friday evening.