Adrian Newey points the finger after second Bahrain drain cover incident

Michelle Foster
Adrian Newey inspects the floor of the RB20

Adrian Newey has blamed 'heavy' cars for the Bahrain drain incidents.

Adrian Newey has blamed the weight of Formula 1’s current generation of cars for the drain cover incidents that caused havoc in pre-season testing.

Two days in a row, Formula 1 has had to red flag a test session after a drain cover came loose at Turn 11.

On Thursday Charles Leclerc dislodged the chunk of metal with Lewis Hamilton hitting it with his Mercedes, that bringing out the red flag.

Testing was red flagged twice due to drain cover incidents

While Hamilton’s W15 escaped without damage, Leclerc’s Ferrari required a new floor with the five-time Grand Prix winner revealing to F1 TV there was a “hole in the floor. It wasn’t huge. There was a bit of a hole in the floor, which we had to change.

“I had no warning. I saw something, but honestly it was so thin that I thought it was a plastic thing.

“We see sometimes some of them around the track and we just go on them and nothing is happening, but this time obviously it was metal, so it hurt the car a little bit more.”

A day later, and at the same corner, it was Perez who sucked up the drain cover.

Thankfully for the Mexican driver, his RB20 escaped without damage with Newey spotted on his back underneath the car as he checked his latest creation for damage.

Red Bull reported all was well with the RB20 but Newey still wasn’t very impressed.

He blames the weight of the cars for the incidents.

“The cars are too big and too heavy,” he reportedly told Auto Motor und Sport. “That’s why this keeps happening.”

The new generation of cars have a minimum weight of 798kg.

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With the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix just days away, the drain cover problem needs to be resolved before Thursday’s opening practice.

According to Motorsport.com a temporary solution is on the cards with circuit contractors set to “fill in drains around the course with concrete in an attempt to avoid the cover lifting problem at next week’s GP.

“This solution can be implemented because the long-term weather forecast indicates no rain will hit the race weekend.”

It, though, is just a temporary solution.

Bahrain’s incidents weren’t the first time one of the new generation of cars has met a manhole cover.

Last season Carlos Sainz’s SF-23 was destroyed when he hit a drain cover in the inaugural practice session for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

It destroyed the floor of his Ferrari and punched a whole right through it so that he could reportedly see the tarmac.

Read next: F1 Testing 2024: Carlos Sainz tops another drain-cover-blighted session