Fans who only had a ticket to see the Thursday action were left disappointed after FP1 was cut short to just eight minutes following the cancellation of the session.

A number of water valve covers had become loose meaning the session had to be called off to let officials check the circuit amid safety concerns.

As a result, FP2 was delayed significantly, pushed back by two hours initially.

Due to the late start time – FP2 eventually started at 2:30am local time (two and a half hours after the scheduled start time), staff at the circuit were no longer contracted to work legally, thus fans were told to leave.

It meant the 90-minute practice session was watched by zero fans.

It resulted in a raft of criticism for F1 and the event organisers, who released a statement after the session.

Ahead of FP3, circuit organisers confirmed that affected fans would be issued a $200 voucher to spend in the Las Vegas GP store.

There was no mention of a refund – or an apology. 

“There is no higher priority at a Formula 1 race than the safety and security of drivers, fans and staff alike,” read the message sent to the affected ticket holders.

“Following last night’s incident involving a water valve cover, the Las Vegas Grand Prix, F1 and the FIA were faced with the difficult decision to close the fan zones prior to the beginning of Free Practice 2.

“We appreciate your patience while we remedied the situation. This was not a decision we took lightly. As a thank you for your support, we would like to offer you a $200 voucher to the Las Vegas Grand Prix Official Shop.”

“It happens”

The Las Vegas GP CEO, Renee Wilm, also released a statement, explaining why fans were forced to leave last night. 

“First, we were concerned about our public safety and security officials who had been in service for a long time and who are being asked to work for the next three nights,” she said.

“We thank Clark County’s MetroPolice Department, Department of Public Works and other public safety officials for their incredible support during the event and also as we re-opened the track early this morning.

“Second, we were concerned about our transportation employees who are responsible for driving our fans back to hotels. By Federal law, they were bumping up against the amount of time they can legally and safely drive buses.

“Finally, our hospitality staff needed the ability to clean and resupply our guest areas to ensure that the fan experience is optimal for everyone over the coming days.

“We know this was disappointing. We hope our fans will understand based on this explanation that we had to balance many interests, including the safety and security of all participants and the fan experience over the whole race weekend.

“We have all been to events, like concerts, games and even other Formula 1 races, that have been cancelled because of factors like weather or technical issues. 

“It happens, and we hope people will understand.”