Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali has refused to apologise for the farcical opening to this weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix.
After months of hype leading up to the £500million race, opening practice was abandoned with just eight minutes on the clock on Thursday night.
The second running was delayed by two-and-a-half hours, and then took place in front of vacant grandstands after furious fans were ejected to comply with local employment laws. Practice finished at 4am on Friday morning.
But in a 650-word joint statement by Domenicali, and CEO of the Las Vegas race, Renee Wilm, the sport’s red-faced bosses stopped short of saying sorry.
“We have all been to events, like concerts, games and even other Formula One races, that have been cancelled because of factors like weather or technical issues,” they said.
“It happens, and we hope people will understand.”
Fans who held a 200 US dollar (£160) general admission ticket for Thursday’s two practice sessions have been offered a voucher for the same amount to be redeemed on merchandise.
But those in attendance on a three-day pass – the cheapest of which is 500 US dollars (£400) – will not receive any compensation.
The statement continued: “We know this was disappointing. We hope our fans will understand that we had to balance many interests, including the safety and security of all participants and the fan experience over the whole race weekend.
“So how will we address this tonight?
“We have worked overnight to adjust our staffing plans across security, transportation and hospitality to ensure that we can function and serve fans with the best possible experience in the event of an extended race schedule.
“We are excited about the racing today and thank our entire team and our fans for their support. We know this is going to be a great event. With that, let’s get back to racing.”
Qualifying for Saturday’s (Sunday 0600GMT) 50-lap race took place at midnight local time (Saturday 0800GMT).