Saturday December 9, 2023

Las Vegas GP, Liberty Media Hit With Lawsuit Amid Dramatic Race Finish

  • Closed, postponed practice session prompts legal action.
  • Teardown of race apparatus likely to extend into the new year.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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The Las Vegas Grand Prix finished late Saturday in dramatic fashion, with the dominant Max Verstappen overcoming a collision and a penalty to claim his 16th victory in 17 races. 

And after a deeply troubled beginning to the event, even Verstappen reversed his prior grumbling about the extravagance of the event and ultimately sang its praises. That change of sentiment arrived as the race week drew more than 315,000 spectators and ultimately delivered on its original promise of delivering a visually stunning nighttime spectacle along the Las Vegas Strip — capped with a resumption of the Bellagio fountains that had been turned off and a post-race fireworks show.

“I hope everyone enjoyed it. We definitely did,” Verstappen said. “[I’m] excited to come back here next year and try to do something similar.”

Fallout To Come

Not every fan enjoyed the race, though. The issues with the Thursday night practice that led to an early end to the day’s first practice session and a public closure and postponement of the second session have quickly led to a class-action lawsuit.

Fans with single-day passes were offered a $200 discount at the official race gift shop, but most fans purchased three-day passes, and were not offered those make-goods. The lawsuit filed in Clark County, Nevada, District Court against F1 owner Liberty Media and the Las Vegas Grand Prix alleges those entities failed to take into account fans’ other expenses to attend the event.

“Even if ticket prices are refunded, no offer has been made to reimburse racegoers for other out-of-pocket expenses they incurred with the event cancellation, including transportation, logging, food, merchandise sales, transactions fees, and other such expenses,” the lawsuit reads in part.

F1 said the decision was made strictly in the name of fan safety, adding cancellations at various events “happen” and that “we hope people will understand.”

An official timeline for the breakdown of the lights, grandstands, barriers, and other apparatus for the event has not been established, but estimates are hovering around six to eight weeks. There will be little time for the city to get fully back to normal, though, as come spring, efforts will be back underway in earnest to prepare for the 2024 Las Vegas Grand Prix in F1’s multi-year commitment to the event. 

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