The practice session for the Las Vegas Grand Prix (LVGP) got off to a rocky start on Friday morning when ticketed fans were ejected from the event due to a series of unfortunate events. The trouble began when a loose manhole cover on the racetrack was sucked up by Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari, causing significant damage to the car and prompting a red flag to allow crews to inspect all other manhole covers along the 3.8-mile track.
The necessary repairs were completed in time for the second practice session to proceed as scheduled at 3 a.m. Friday, but the fans who had been waiting for two hours were then ejected from their seats at 1:30 a.m. Despite the inconvenience, no apology was issued by Formula 1 (F1) or the LVGP event organizers, despite the fact that some ticketholders had spent up to $50,000 on three-day passes.
F1 CEO Stefano Domencali and LVGP CEO Renee Wilm later issued a joint statement explaining the series of events that led to the fans being removed from the venue, but it did not include an apology. Instead, the statement downplayed the incident, likening it to other failed sport and entertainment events and stating that “it happens.”
To appease the disgruntled fans, F1 announced that anyone who purchased a single-day ticket for Friday would receive a $200 voucher for race merchandise. However, there were no refunds or discounts offered for anyone who had purchased a three-day ticket.
F1’s subsequent statement attempted to justify the decision to eject fans from the venue, citing concerns about public safety and security officials, transportation employees, and hospitality staff. The statement emphasized the need to balance various interests, including the safety and security of all participants and the overall fan experience over the race weekend.
Overall, the fans were left disappointed and without an apology for the ordeal they experienced at the start of the LVGP practice session. The lack of an apology, coupled with the brushing off of the incident by F1 and LVGP, left many fans feeling unsatisfied with the outcome of the event.