F1 fans removed from grandstands ahead of delayed Vegas FP2
A since-deleted statement released by the Vegas race on its social media platforms read: "Due to logistical considerations for our fans and our staff, we have made the determination that we will be closing all Las Vegas Grand Prix fan areas at 1.30am. We look forward to welcoming fans back later today for exciting FP3 and qualifying sessions".
Autosport understands that fans have had to leave the fan areas due to security team shifts ending, which means the grandstands and fan zones cannot operate as expected.
It is not currently clear why the statement was deleted from the Vegas race's social media accounts.
But the development means the FP2 session will therefore take place in front of empty grandstands and finish at 4am, the time the sections of track that take in public roads were supposed to be fully open to the public.
The heavily delayed timetable for the first day of F1 action in Las Vegas for 41 years was caused by the cancellation of the earlier FP1 session following Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and Alpine driver Esteban Ocon striking a loose water valve cover while traversing the lengthy Las Vegas Strip section of the 3.9-mile track.
Race officials and track engineers have made rapid inspections and repairs to 30 such water valves along the Strip – by filling them in with a mix of asphalt and resin that is hoped will keep them in place sufficiently when the cars are running over them at top speed on such a long straight.
The big forces produced by ground-effect cars on the track as cars move across it have been cited as a reason why the water valve cover in question failed, something that happened specifically around its concrete join with the rest of the road.
FP2 had finally been rescheduled for 2am following the repair efforts, before this was pushed back first by 15 minutes and then a full half hour to commence at 2.30am local time.