F1 fans were enraged after getting ejected from the grandstands and fan zones prior to the start of the second practice session for the Las Vegas Grand Prix which took place behind closed doors.
F1 fans who had arrived were told to leave, and the postponed second practice session for the Las Vegas Grand Prix was held in front of empty grandstands.
The session was delayed as a result of the cancellation of FP1. This was after an incident where Carlos Sainz made contact with a loose manhole cover during the first eight minutes of the session causing chassis damage and triggered a red flag which ultimately led to the cancellation.
Due to crucial mechanical repairs following damage to Sainz’s Ferrari and Esteban Ocon’s Alpine, FP2 started two and a half hours later than originally scheduled.
FP2 had been scheduled to start at 2:30 am local time in Las Vegas and end at 4 am due to the 90-minute extended session. As a result of the second practice session starting later than scheduled, the stands had to be cleared after the security personnel’s shifts had been slated to end.
Consequently, prior to the commencement of the session, fans were requested to leave the grandstands and fan areas. Ticket holders received an statement from F1 stating that “logistical issues” was the reason behind the decision.
“There is no higher priority at a Formula 1 race than the safety and security of drivers, fans and staff alike,” read the statement.
“Following last night’s incident involving a water valve cover, the Las Vegas Grand Prix, F1 and the FIA decided to take extra precautions to ensure the integrity of the track prior to the resumption of racing.
“These additional measures required multiple hours to fully complete, which led to a significant delay in the race schedule.
“Given the lateness of the hour and logistical concerns regarding the safe movement of fans and employees out of the circuit, LVGP made the difficult decision to close the fan zones prior to the beginning of free practice two.
“With a full round of practice successfully completed, LVGP looks forward to providing a safe and entertaining race weekend for all.”
Sky F1 Pundit Ted Kravitz also provided an explanation regarding ejection of the F1 fans from the grandstands and expressed sympathies for those who made an effort to remain despite the unannounced postponement.
“It looks to me now that the marshals, certainly on this grandstand opposite the pits, the police, the spectator marshals are making sure that everybody is leaving,” said Kravitz. “They’re clearing the grandstands and that I do feel extremely sorry.
“When we were all waiting, when I was waiting at the back straight or rather the second corner straight here, I could see there were, I would say about 60 to 80 hardy fans who were sitting, maybe having a nap, but they wanted to see FP2.
“My heart was with them, and I was happy that they were still going to stick with it. But according to the circuit, they can’t provide the staff, the marshals, the safety stewards for them to actually be looked after.
“That’s why they’re making them leave the grandstands.”
It is not a cheap affair to attend the Las Vegas Grand Prix, especially with the $500 price tag for an SG1 grandstand ticket for just Friday.
Fans voiced their displeasure with the decision to eject them over social media, citing the high cost of the tickets as a major reason for their displeasure.
Sadly, it is very unlikely that those who bought Friday tickets for the Las Vegas weekend and experienced just eight minutes of action on the track will be reimbursed.
This situation is similar to the earlier scenario about non-payment following the 2021 cancellation of the Belgian Grand Prix.