Fred Vasseur: Ferrari has ‘reopened’ case of who pays for Las Vegas

Thomas Maher
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz looking at the damaged floor on his SF-23.

Carlos Sainz's Ferrari needed a new chassis, floor, battery and engine.

Ferrari picked up severe damage to one of their cars in Las Vegas, due to the track not being ready for cars to run.

Just a few minutes into the first practice session at the new Las Vegas Strip Circuit last month, Carlos Sainz picked up catastrophic damage to his Ferrari when he drove over a manhole cover that tore through the underside of his chassis.

On top of the damage to the chassis and the floor, he picked up damage to his power unit that required a new Energy Store. Despite the issue being caused through circumstances beyond his control, Sainz was forced to take a 10-place grid penalty for a change of component as there are no grounds for force majeure available to the stewards.

Fred Vasseur: Ferrari has ‘reopened’ the case for compensation

With Ferrari incurring huge costs due to the damage – a particularly bad thing to happen in the era of strict budget caps that also account for the development of the 2024 car – Fred Vasseur confirmed Ferrari has put in a claim with the insurance company for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

“No, no,” he told media at a Ferrari Christmas lunch when asked if he had answers over who was footing the bill for the damage to Sainz’s car.

“You know that, when you open the discussion with the insurance, it’s ages!

“It’s true everywhere, including in F1.

“We will have the time to have the discussion, we reopened the case yesterday or the day before.

“But it would be fair!”


Insurance company pays out for damage to Romain Grosjean’s car

While teams usually have to suck up the cost of damage caused to their cars in a crash, there are cases where insurance in unusual circumstances can be used to claw back costs. For example, Romain Grosjean’s Haas was destroyed at the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix in similar circumstances – a loose drain cover.

It was a year later before Haas received a payout for the chassis, some €650,000, with the insurance company for the circuit taking responsibility for the incident.

“We settled, the insurance was very good to deal with and we are happy,” team boss Guenther Steiner said at the time. “The insurance was very professional, they stood up for their responsibility.”

Despite the long wait for a settlement, Steiner said he was “not surprised” by the outcome.

“It’s [been] a year now roughly, it’s a long time this case. I think it’s the first [time] something like this happened.

“It got sorted, they were good to deal with. There were so many parties involved as well. These things take always time. An insurance claim is never quick.”

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