The second practice session ahead of the Las Vegas Grand Prix will not take place as scheduled due to repairs being carried out on the circuit.
Officials and staff at the Las Vegas GP are working flat out to repair weak concrete surrounding manholes at the circuit, following a failure nine minutes into first practice that resulted in damage to two cars.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was driving at top speed along the fearsomely long straight when his car jumped into the air and landed with sparks flying from behind him. He had hit a manhole cover that failed, resulting in catastrophic damage under the car.
FIA confirms delays to second practice in Las Vegas
With critical repairs needed around the circuit as other potential failure points were identified, the second practice session will not begin at the scheduled time and has been delayed. The expected time for the session will be 2am local time, 10am UK time, and will be extended to 90 minutes to compensate a little for the loss of FP1.
“Following inspection, it was the concrete frame around a manhole cover that has failed,” the FIA stated.
“We now need to check all of the other manhole covers which will take some time – we will be discussing with the local circuit engineering team about the length of time it will take to resolve and will update with any resultant changes to the schedule.”
Sainz’s car was destroyed in the impact, with the FIA revealing that his car requires a new survival cell (chassis), Internal Combustion Engine, Energy Store, and electronics.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who hit the debris from Sainz’s incident, has also required a chassis change. Both drivers’ incidents have been referred to the stewards, although the exceptional nature of the damage may lead to some sort of dispensation rather than punishment.
F1 team bosses show anger – for different reasons
The dramatic nature of FP1 led to a dramatic team bosses’ press conference afterward, with Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur in no mood to deal with the media.
“The situation is that we damage completely the monocoque, the engine, the battery. I think it’s just unacceptable,” he said.”
“We had a very tough FP1 one that will cost us a fortune. We fucked up the session for Carlos.
“We won’t be part of the FP2 for sure because we change the chassis of the car. Okay, the show is the show and everything is going well but I think of just unacceptable for the F1 today.”
With Toto Wolff interjecting to warn Vasseur he shouldn’t say something he might regret, Vasseur responded by requesting to leave the press conference. Wolff then proceeded to unleash an expletive-laden rant against journalists in the room who were asking critical questions about the event.
“That is not a black eye,” Wolff affirmed when asked if the incident was damaging for the Las Vegas event. “This is nothing!
“We are Thursday night, we have a free practice session one that we’re not doing, they’re going to seal the drain covers, and nobody’s going to talk about that tomorrow morning anymore.
“It’s completely ridiculous! Completely ridiculous, FP1, how can you even dare try to talk bad about an event that sets the new standards to everything? And then you’re speaking about a f***ing drain cover that’s been undone. That has happened before! That’s nothing, it’s FP1!
“Give credit to the people that have set up this Grand Prix, that have made this sport much bigger than it ever was. Have you ever spoken good about someone and written a good word? You should about all these people that have been out here. Liberty has done an awesome job and just because in FP1 a drain cover has become undone, we shouldn’t be moaning.
“The car is broken, that’s really a shame. For Carlos, it could have been dangerous. So between the FIA and the track – everybody needs to analyse how we can make sure that this is not happening again. But talking here about the black eye for the sport on a Thursday evening, nobody watches that in European time anyway!”