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F1 fans file class-action suit over being forced to exit Las Vegas Grand Prix, while some locals left frustrated

Grand Prix hurting some Las Vegas businesses
Las Vegas Grand Prix creating hardships for some local businesses 02:27

Formula One fans upset at being forced to leave the Las Vegas Grand Prix venue early Friday morning before the start of the second practice session filed a class-action lawsuit.

Las Vegas-based Dimopoulos Law Firm and co-counsel JK Legal & Consulting filed the lawsuit against the Las Vegas Grand Prix and its owner, Liberty Media, in Nevada state court seeking at least $30,000 in damages.

Those who bought tickets to race's opening night saw just nine minutes of action Thursday night before Carlos Sainz Jr. ran over a water valve cover and damaged his Ferrari. Race officials inspected the course, which resulted in a 2 1/2-hour delay for the second session, which began at 2:30 a.m. local time Friday. They also extended the practice session from an hour to 90 minutes.

Race officials have since offered a $200 discount at the official gift shop, but only for those who held single-night tickets Thursday. The majority of fans have three-day passes.

F1 Grand Prix of Las Vegas
Fernando Alonso of Spain, the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team driver, during the qualification session at the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix on Nov. 17, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Robert Szaniszlo/NurPhoto via Getty Images

F1 President Stefano Domenicali and Renee Wilm, CEO of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, issued a statement Friday saying they closed the track to spectators for safety and legal reasons.

"We have all been to events, like concerts, games and even other Formula 1 races, that have been canceled because of factors like weather or technical issues," the statement read. "It happens, and we hope people will understand."

F1 has taken a large gamble on the $500 million race, the costs of which included repaving roads, constructing fencing and promotion. The nearly 4-mile-long track runs alongside Sin City's famous landmarks.

Part of what makes the Las Vegas Grand Prix unique is that it is raced on city streets, and losing those streets has left some locals frustrated.

Wade Bohn told CBS News the course construction blocked visitors from his 24-hour convenience store.

"We didn't need the F1," Bohn told CBS News.

He said he's had to lay off half his staff and lost about 80% of his business.

"I mean, we're out here on an island by ourselves, just drowning," Bohn said. "If they make that bridge permanent, I'm done, because there's no traffic," Bohn said of the 760-foot Flamingo Road bridge, which was built for the race, but was recently opened to general traffic when not in use for the grand prix. 

It's unclear if the bridge will become permanent or be disassembled once this year's race is over, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.  

F1 currently has a three-year deal with the city for the grand prix, and the option to extend for seven more years after that.

"Hopefully F1 learns a lot from this first year, and they'll get a lot of things ironed out to where next year and the years to come, it will be more smoother," Las Vegas resident Jeff Toco told CBS News. 

Elizabeth Campbell contributed to this report. 

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