Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has chastised the organisers of the Las Vegas Grand Prix after Carlos Sainz suffered session-ending damage in the opening practice session.
Ten minutes into Formula 1’s first session back in Las Vegas since the 1982 Caesars Palace GP, Sainz drove over a loose manhole cover on the strip, wrecking his Ferrari’s floor and ending the session early.
Later, it was discovered Esteban Ocon would need to change the chassis of his Alpine as well due to damage caused by a suspected drain cover, with the FIA immediately commencing safety inspections into every manhole cover around the circuit.
“We damaged completely the monocoque, the engine, the battery,” an enraged Vasseur told media after the session. “I think it’s just unacceptable, it cost us a fortune.
“We f***ed up the session for Carlos. We won’t be part of FP2 for sure, I think it’s just unacceptable for F1 today.”
Could have been worse
With ongoing on-track repairs between FP1 and FP2, there could be a significant delay in proceedings or a potential cancellation of Thursday night’s running.
The Las Vegas GP isn’t the first race weekend to suffer from manhole cover problems, as the opening practice for the 2019 Baku GP was cancelled after George Russell ran over one, damaging his Williams.
And Romain Grosjean suffered a hair-raising shunt caused by a manhole cover coming loose during practice for the 2017 Malaysian GP, with the damage caused to his Haas being compensated by the circuit.
“It is like it is we know that it’s a sporting event we know that this can happen you can have a bad FP1 now we have to recover on the weekend [and] find solutions.” added Vassuer.
“Track time is crucial [with] these kinds of events with a new track for the drivers, and for us, it means that if Carlos misses FP2 on the end of the sporting side, it will be detrimental.
“For sure, I’m frustrated. I’m also scared because Carlos hit a metallic part at 320 kph, and they could have been much worse.
“I’m still convinced that the event is mega for the F1. As James [Vowles] said before this happened in Monaco a couple of years ago, I remember Baku 2019, I remember that we had a couple of occasions like this.”