FIA make Carlos Sainz penalty claim

The FIA spent hours in Las Vegas trying to find a way to not penalise Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz.

Last weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix was an interesting affair, which started in the worst way possible.

Free Practice 1 was embarrassingly cancelled after just eight minutes of running, after a red flag was needed due to Carlos Sainz having hit a loose manhole cover.

The loose manhole cover ripped a hole in Sainz’s Ferrari, with some have reported that the Spaniard could see the circuit through the bottom of the cockpit.

It did extensive damage to his car’s chassis, with the battery, gearbox and engine having all been severely damaged.

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As a result, a new battery outside of his legal pool had to be fitted, resulting in a 10-place grid penalty.

Ferrari argued that a grid penalty shouldn’t be necessary given that the damage was caused by a flaw with the circuit, rather than their equipment.

The stewards agreed with Ferrari that a punishment was harsh; however, after spending hours looking through the rule book, they couldn’t find any rule which granted them the power to not give Sainz a penalty.

“The stewards note that if they had the authority to grant a derogation in what they consider in this case to be mitigating, unusual and unfortunate circumstances, they would have done so, however, the regulations do not allow such action,” the stewards statement read.

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This massively impacted Sainz’s weekend, as he was unable to make the most of his pace.

His car was miraculously repaired for Free Practice 2 where he came second, before he qualified second for the race.

Due to the penalty, he started from 12th and was only able to recover to sixth.

Understandably, Sainz wasn’t exactly in the Vegas mood after discovering his grid penalty on the opening day, with him having been in “disbelief with the situation”.

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“We seem to be switching on the tyres well over one lap and being competitive, so I was quite excited and optimistic,” Sainz told Sky Sports F1 after FP2.

“Unfortunately, as the session finished, the team communicated to me that I was taking a 10-place grid penalty for something that I have no fault, and the team have no fault.

“That changed completely my mindset and my opinion on the weekend and how it’s going to go from now on. I’m disappointed and in disbelief with the situation. You will not see me very happy this weekend.”