Furious F1 fans blast ‘ridiculous’ decision to kick them out of grandstands as they tried to watch practice in Las Vegas… with some paying $200 for just EIGHT minutes of action following drain cover disaster
- The first practice session for this weekend’s Grand Prix lasted just eight minutes
- Fans were told to leave five laps into the second practice in Vegas on Friday
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Formula One fans were left seething on Friday morning after a loose drain cover meant they saw just eight minutes of practice for this weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix.
In a nightmare start to F1’s first Sin City race for 41 years, the first practice session was scrapped after just eight minutes when a loose drain cover caused significant damage to Esteban Ocon’s Alpine and Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari.
Grand Prix organizers were eventually able to get the second practice session underway at 2:30am local time, two-and-a-half hours later than scheduled, after the drain cover was filled in by workers to quickly get the event back on track.
However, despite some of them forking out $200 for the privilege to be there, fans were kicked out of FP2 after a mere eight minutes and five laps as F1 chiefs evacuated the stands.
A statement read: ‘Due to logistical considerations for our fans and our staff, we have made the determination that we will be closing all Las Vegas Grand Prix fan areas at 1:30am PT.
Formula One fans were left seething on Thursday night after a loose drain cover meant they saw just eight minutes of practice in Las Vegas
The first practice session was scrapped after just eight minutes when a loose drain cover caused significant damage to two vehicles
The second practice session eventually got underway at 2.30am local time on Friday, two-and-a-half hours later than scheduled
Spectators were told to leave the second session after a mere eight minutes and five laps
‘We look forward to welcoming fans back later today for exciting FP3 and qualifying sessions.’
Sky Sports News were able to capture the mood of spectators who had been left short-changed on Thursday night in Vegas, with one saying: ‘Ridiculous! We waited for four hours and they gave us hope. At 2am they said “we are going to have the race”. And then nothing, nothing happened. Now they are telling us to leave, so what a night.’
Another fumed: ‘We came from Los Angeles, we flew only for today. We spent money on the airplane, tickets for this place and… nothing.’
A third said: ‘I’ve been here for the last 2-3 hours and now we’ve been asked to leave. We weren’t sure if practice was going to go ahead but fans were asked to leave. It was all kind of disappointing.’
A fourth also shed light on the mixed signals from race officials: ‘That was the big difference, the optimism, the hope that it would continue.
‘We caught 10 minutes at the beginning then we sat and waited. We hung out, food was good, drinks were good, but we sat and nothing happened.’
While another simply conceded: ‘That’s Vegas baby! We wanted to stay until 3am to watch the practice but it is what it is.’
Dailymail.com has reached out to the Las Vegas Grand Prix for comment.
Before some were told to leave, several fans had already left amid the chaos and confusion that followed the nightmare start as workers battled to fix the loose manhole cover.
Fans who had paid up to $200 to be at the practice session were quick to brand it ‘ridiculous’
Carlos Sainz saw his Ferrari damaged when he hit the manhole cover during first practice
Given a number of them have paid $185,000 to be there this weekend, the setback left F1 bosses red-faced as fans booed from the stands when the cancellation was announced.
This was not the start envisaged for an event that was supposed to be a glamorous affair for the sport.
Race chiefs had released a statement saying an inspection by Formula One and FIA determined that ‘a single water valve cover failed’ in the first practice session.
The FIA later said Sainz hit the concrete frame around a manhole cover and the governing body must now inspect every manhole cover on the course.
‘We will be discussing with the local circuit engineering team about the length of time it will take to resolve and will update with any resultant changes to the schedule,’ the FIA said.
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