Just eight minutes of track action took place in the first practice session for the long-awaited spectacle before it was red-flagged after Carlos Sainz's Ferrari and the Alpine of Esteban Ocon sustained severe damage after driving over a water-valve cover.
The concrete seal around the cover exploded underneath Sainz's car, in particular, leading to a power unit failure and the replacement of components that resulted in a 10-place grid penalty.
Given the five-hour repairs that were then undertaken, as other water valve covers were checked, FP2 finally ran at 2.30am local time in front of empty grandstands as those fans who had stayed behind were ordered to leave an hour earlier due to the welfare concerns of all support staff. After the hour-long session was extended to 90 minutes, it finished at 4am.
Although F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and Las Vegas GP CEO Renee Wilm issued a joint statement explaining the situation, and why certain decisions were taken, there was no formal apology.
Those fans in possession of a Thursday-only ticket, representing just six percent of those in attendance, were offered a $200 voucher to spend in an official store as compensation. Spectators with a three-day ticket were offered nothing.
That has resulted in a Las Vegas law firm, Dimopoulos, with JK Legal & Consulting serving as co-counsel, filing a suit with the Nevada District Court on Friday on behalf of 35,000 fans who had purchased tickets for Thursday's practice.
The lawsuit, seeking $30,000 for each fan for ‘general' and ‘special' damages' given associated travel and hotel expenditure, alleges breach of contract, negligence, and deceptive trade practices against the defendants.
Lead lawyer Steve Dimopoulos said: “We will vindicate the rights of the fans that travelled great distances and paid small fortunes to attend, but were deprived of the experience.”
In response, when contacted by Speedcafe, a spokesperson for LVGP said: “We cannot comment on the litigation.
“Our focus is on ensuring that our fans have an entertaining experience in a safe and secure environment which is always our top priority.”