Esteban Ocon branded F1‘s treatment of fans at free practice for the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix as unacceptable, as grandstands around The Strip Circuit were emptied after just nine minutes of track action.
However, Ocon was philosophical about his own problems, as his Alpine chassis needed to be switched after it was damaged by a loose manhole cover.
It was the same issue that put Carlos Sainz out of action early in FP1, but the Spaniard was hit with a 10-place penalty for changing an illegal part of his engine despite a Ferrari protest.
“It’s been good to finally get some running,” Ocon told F1TV. “Feeling sorry for all the fans out there though. Hopefully we catch up on the show and have a good show for them tomorrow because they haven’t seen a car run today. That is not acceptable.”
Ocon praises Las Vegas Strip circuit
However, Ocon was more optimistic about the Las Vegas GP circuit, which even allowed Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc to battle wheel-to-wheel in FP2.
Teams were able to carry their FP1 tyres for the extended 90-minute late session, meaning there was plenty of track action for fans not to be allowed to watch.
Alpine were one of just three teams not to feature in the top 10, finishing 15th and 16th led by Pierre Gasly, with both drivers almost two seconds off pacesetter Leclerc.
However, Ocon said they were hopeful things will improve ahead of qualifying, which is set to start at midnight local time.
“We are experimenting things, but it’s important to be racing so we will see what we can do,” Ocon told the media. “There’s work to do for tomorrow. The track is interesting, it’s getting faster and faster so tomorrow is going to be an interesting day.”
“On our side, being able to carry the tyres forward from FP1 has been good. I was lucky the session got delayed because my car was very damaged, so a bit of a crazy day of emotions. Luckily, I’m fine as well because it could easily have come through the car, the object.
“I got a new car, a fresh car, which wasn’t really part of the plan. We are going to be working on trying to find the best compromise ahead of tomorrow, we got what we needed on that side and hopefully we can get into Q3 tomorrow.”