Carlos Sainz in ‘disbelief’ at ‘not acceptable’ grid penalty in Las Vegas

Henry Valantine
Carlos Sainz in the garage in Las Vegas.

Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari garage.

Carlos Sainz has dubbed his grid penalty for the Las Vegas Grand Prix “not acceptable”, believing dispensation should have been given to him as the damage he suffered was no fault of his own.

Sainz ran over a water valve cover in the early minutes of FP1 in Las Vegas, with the cover becoming dislodged from the ground and causing huge damage to the floor of his Ferrari.

The Spaniard required multiple new power unit components as well as a new survival cell, with a new energy store prompting a 10-place grid penalty that the stewards deemed he had to take, with no workaround in the rules despite Ferrari pleading his case.

Carlos Sainz in ‘disbelief’ after enforced 10-place grid drop

Sainz took to social media to call the penalty he has been forced to take “not acceptable”, before adding he and Ferrari will “deal with it” and try to recover as best they can over the weekend.

Sainz had been second behind Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc in second practice, with the Scuderia showing a clear turn of pace around Las Vegas in the early hours of Friday morning.

Having confirmed he was okay in the aftermath of the damage, the 29-year-old explained that the penalty will have a huge impact on his weekend.

“I think that the track layout is suiting us a bit more compared to the last few and we seem to be switching on the tyres over one lap and being competitive,” Sainz said after the delayed and elongated FP2 session in Las Vegas.

“So yeah, I was quite excited and optimistic. Unfortunately, as the session finished, the team communicated me that I was taking a 10-place grid penalty for something that I have no fault and the team has no fault.

“And obviously, this has changed completely my mindset and my opinion on the weekend and how the weekend is going to go from now on.

“You can obviously [understand] how disappointed and in disbelief I am with the situation and you will not see me very happy this weekend.”

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This will leave Sainz with plenty of work to do to get back up the field no matter how well he performs in qualifying.

Despite there being a huge 1.9km straight along the Las Vegas Strip as a potential overtaking opportunity, the Ferrari driver is not yet in the mood to get in the mindset for racing.

He believes this penalty is a “clear example” of how Formula 1 should learn to support its drivers, rather than punish them when they have done nothing wrong.

“Yes, there will be opportunities but as I said right now, I’m just disappointed with the outcome and I don’t want to talk too much about the future because what happened today for me is a very clear example of how this sport can be improved in so many ways,” he explained.

“FIA, teams’ rules that this could clearly be applied as force majeure for me not to take a penalty but some way there’s always people, always ways to make the situation worse for an individual.

“I think in this case, it’s my turn to pay the price.”

Read next: F1 responds as disappointed fans forced to exit Las Vegas circuit before FP2