Published On: Tue, Nov 21st, 2023
Sports | 2,599 views

F1 ‘dodged a bullet’ despite angry Las Vegas Grand Prix fans’ lawsuit | F1 | Sport

The excitement of a dramatic Las Vegas Grand Prix more than made up for the chaos of a botched practice session that threatened to derail the whole event. That’s the view of Sky Sports F1 reporter Martin Brundle who has shared his thoughts on the showpiece event that returned to Sin City for the first time in over 40 years.

Much had been made of the disruption caused to the famous Las Vegas strip after a full Formula One circuit was built around it on the streets of the renowned entertainment hotspot.

And things could hardly have got off to a worse start when the opening practice session had to be abandoned after only nine minutes when Carlos Sainz hit a raised manhole cover that severely damaged his Ferrari.

Writing in his review column for Sky Sports, Brundle explained how race organisers dealt with the problem.

He wrote: “The Las Vegas Grand Prix would nonetheless have disappointed some folk, being those who were desperate for the glitzy show to fail. Mind you, Thursday’s FP1 efforts with the water valve covers making a bid for freedom, allowing just a few minutes of track running, generated the worst possible start.

“Hours later, with fan and hospitality areas unceremoniously cleared out apparently due to safety and transportation issues, and with repairs hurriedly made, F1 placed all its money on black fast-drying materials and sent the cars out for 90 minutes at 2.30am.

“With exhaust notes echoing through the empty grandstands it felt surreal to be trackside, but the gamble paid off and ‘Vegas, baby’ was finally underway. F1 dodged a bullet there.”

Despite managing to get the three-day event back on track, the ramifications could still be heavy for F1. Aside from Ferrari wanting to know exactly who was going to pay for the costly repairs to Sainz’s car after it was damaged through no fault of their own, organisers now face a class-action lawsuit brought about by a Las Vegas-based law firm.

Dimopoulos Law Firm and co-counsel JK Legal & Consulting filed the action against F1 owners Liberty Media and the Las Vegas Grand Prix in a Nevada state court, where they are seeking at least $30,000 (£23,920) in damages.

Disappointed fans were asked to leave the Friday night practice session due to security issues with the rearranged session restarting at 2.30am local time against the backdrop of empty grandstands.

But the race itself proved to be a classic, getting F1 and its stakeholders out of a tight corner.

Brundle concluded: “Now we have these spectacular events at incredible facilities, watched globally by tens of millions, and sponsored by some of the biggest organisations on the planet.

“But none of that matters whatsoever if the racing is not entertaining, and thankfully it was.”

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