F1 responds as disappointed fans forced to exit Las Vegas circuit before FP2

Thomas Maher
Fans show their displeasure as police remove them from the grandstands at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Fans show their displeasure as police remove them from the grandstands at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

With the significantly delayed second practice session running so late, fans were forced to leave the Las Vegas circuit ahead of the session.

With track repairs being carried out at the Las Vegas circuit following Carlos Sainz’s dramatic encounter with a drain cover early in FP1, the second practice session was delayed by some two and a half hours – the session eventually kicking off at 2.30am local time to run until 4am.

With frustrations of the fans already running high, the decision was then made to request the fans to leave the grandstands and vacate the circuit – images on social media showed security moving ticketholders – many of whom had shelled out significant amounts of money – to vacate publicly accessible areas, as well as more exclusive zones.

F1 issues statement on fans removal from Las Vegas Grand Prix

Understandably, the situation has resulted in plenty of unhappy fans taking to social media to criticise the handling of the situation although, thankfully, there haven’t been any suggestions of any scenes of anger or ugliness from the crowd.

The Las Vegas Grand Prix, of which F1 itself is the promoter, has since moved to issue a statement regarding the decision to remove the crowd from the circuit before FP2 got underway.

“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.

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“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 2.

“With a full round of practice successfully completed, LVGP looks forward to providing a safe and entertaining race weekend for all.”

PlanetF1.com understands that a significant logistical challenge regarding security staffing was the main catalyst behind the decision to remove the fans.

With the maximum number of hours workable by security staff strictly enforced by unionised labour, the significant delays meant that staff – security and otherwise – would have reached this maximum number, to create what would have been a significant issue.

PlanetF1.com also understands discussions regarding the potential for refunds for fans affected by their inability to watch FP2 are underway.

Read next: Four other things F1 has got wrong in disastrous Las Vegas Grand Prix start