Ferrari slam ‘unacceptable’ incident

Free Practice 1 was cancelled after just eight minutes, following a loose manhole cover causing significant damage.

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has labelled the Las Vegas Grand Prix track conditions as “unacceptable”, after Carlos Sainz hit a loose manhole cover just eight minutes into Free Practice 1.

The first Las Vegas GP since 1982 has so far been a complete embarrassment, with FP1 having been cancelled after just eight minutes.

A red flag was flown after Sainz came to a complete halt on circuit, seconds after running over a loose manhole cover.

Onboard footage showed the aggressiveness of the impact, with Esteban Ocon having hit the same loose cover seconds later.

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Sainz’s car sustained significant damage, to the extent that some reports stated that the circuit was visible through a hole in the bottom of his cockpit.

Ocon’s car also sustained significant damage, in what was the worst possible start to the Las Vegas GP.

The FIA confirmed in a statement that following the manhole cover incident, they needed time to check all the manhole covers around the circuit, resulting in the cancellation of FP1 and a huge delay to Free Practice 2.

It was necessary for the other manhole covers to be checked as it was discovered that the incident was caused by a “concrete frame” failure, resulting in a staggering 150-minute delay to FP2.

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“Following inspection, it was the concrete frame around a manhole cover that has failed. We now need to check all of the other manhole covers which will take some time,” the FIA stated.

“We will be discussing with the local circuit engineering team about the length of time it will take to resolve and will update with any resultant changes to the schedule.”

To try and make up for the considerable lost time in FP1, FP2 was rescheduled as a 90-minute session.

In a huge credit to Ferrari and Alpine, Sainz and Ocon’s cars were both repaired in time for FP2, which started at 2:30am local time.

When FP2 eventually got going, it was Charles Leclerc who topped what was a Ferrari 1-2, with Fernando Alonso in third.

However, in regard to Sainz, the damage caused by the manhole cover has had a huge impact on his entire weekend, as he’s received a 10-place grid penalty due to his car being fitted with a new battery, due to the damage caused by the manhole cover.

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Vasseur was absolutely livid with what happened and slammed it as “just unacceptable”.

“We damaged completely the monocoque, the engine, the battery. I think it’s just unacceptable,” Vasseur said in the team principals’ press conference.

“It cost us a fortune. We won’t be part of FP2 for sure. I think it’s just unacceptable for F1 today.”