Carlos Sainz hit with Las Vegas GP grid penalty as stewards blame ‘highly unusual circumstances’

Sam Cooper

Carlos Sainz has been hit with a grid penalty for changing parts as the FIA admitted regulations did not allow them to overlook it.

Sainz drove over a loose water cover during FP1 that destroyed his car, causing significant damage to the survival cell, internal combustion engine, energy store and control electronics.

But despite the fault being entirely on the FIA, Sainz has still been handed a minimum 10-place penalty for taking a third energy store of the season, outside the permitted pool.

Carlos Sainz’s pleas fall on deaf ears with stewards

Sainz’s incident brought out the red flag just nine minutes into FP1 and with significant work needed to repair the track damage, the FIA declared no more running would take place.

But even if the session had resumed, Sainz would play no further part as his Ferrari shut off almost immediately after the incident and needed to be taken away on the back of a truck.

As a result of their repairs, Ferrari were summoned by the stewards but the sport’s referees ultimately admitted they did not have the authority to overlook the indiscretion. recommends

Revealed: The most fined drivers and teams on the F1 2023 grid

F1 2025 driver line-up: Who is already confirmed for the 2025 grid?

Their verdict read: “Having received a request from the competitor requesting a derogation of the Sporting Regulations in order to allow a replacement of the energy store from outside the pool, without penalty; and having heard from the team representative, the Director FIA Single Seater Department [Nikolas Tombazis], having viewed video evidence and examined the team’s declaration sheet, the stewards, determine that notwithstanding the fact that the damage was caused by highly unusual external circumstances, Article 2.1 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations obliges all officials, including the stewards, to apply the regulations as they are written.

“Accordingly, the mandatory penalty specified under Article 28.3 of the Sporting Regulations must be applied.

“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.”

Read next: Spiky Fred Vasseur declares Carlos Sainz is ‘f*****’ after ‘unacceptable’ manhole incident