Toto Wolff fumes at Las Vegas negativity after manhole cover curtails FP1

The Mercedes team boss hit back at criticism of the event after the abrupt end to FP1 in Las Vegas.

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Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has hit out at some of the negativity thrown towards the Las Vegas GP after a loose manhole cover brought FP1 to an early end.

The opening session of the Las Vegas GP weekend saw just eight minutes of running before Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari stopped out on track, causing a red flag.

The session would not be resumed either, with a loose manhole cover ripping into his floor – prompting the FIA to inspect each one around the circuit.

The incident meant the Spaniard would struggle to get running time in FP2 given the extent of the repair job needed, while Esteban Ocon’s Alpine suffered similar damage meaning he too is a doubt for the second session.

And Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur was scathing in his criticism of the incident speaking to media after the session, saying that the damage to Sainz’s car was “just unacceptable”.

Wolff hits back at negativity

Asked if it was a black eye for the sport, Wolff could not hide his frustration at some of the negativity being levelled at the event on the back of the problem.

“That is not a black eye. This is nothing,” Wolff told media after the session.

“We are on Thursday night, we have a free practice session one that we’re not doing, they’re gonna seal the drain covers, and nobody’s going to talk about that tomorrow morning anymore.

“It’s completely ridiculous. Completely ridiculous. FP1, how can you even talk bad about an event that sets new standards to everything and then you’re speaking about a f****** drain cover that’s been undone.

“It’s nothing. Everyone should give credit to the people that have set up this Grand Prix, that have made the sport much bigger than it ever was. Have you ever spoken good about someone or written a good word?

“You should about all these people that have been out here. Liberty has done an awesome job.

“And just because in FP1 a drain cover has become undone, we shouldn’t be moaning. The car’s broken and that’s really a shame for Carlos. It could have been dangerous. So between the FIA and the track, everybody needs to analyse how we can make sure that this is not happening again.

“But talking here about the black eye for the sport on a Thursday evening. Nobody [is watching] it in European time anyway.”

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