FP1 stoppage ‘not a good look’ for F1’s return to Las Vegas

Henry Valantine
The Las Vegas GP only lasted eight minutes in FP1.

Carlos Sainz came a cropper with a manhole cover in FP1 in Las Vegas.

Martin Brundle believes the cancellation of FP1 after eight minutes in Las Vegas is “not a good look” for Formula 1, but believes the weekend could still be “incredible” when the racing does get going.

Carlos Sainz drove over a manhole cover and the suction created from underneath his Ferrari pulled it away from the ground, causing huge damage under his car and prompting massive changes to his car.

The remainder of FP1 was cancelled and FP2 was heftily delayed, leaving fans waiting for hours in the night to see meaningful practice action on Formula 1’s return to Las Vegas, after a much anticipated build-up.

Las Vegas false start ‘not a good look’

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur was left spitting feathers at seeing Sainz having to have extensive repairs made to his car, with effectively a full chassis change needing to be made to account for the damage.

Following a lengthy opening ceremony on Wednesday night to announce the sport’s return and the upheaval of taking over huge portions of the city to construct the circuit, former F1 driver Brundle hopes for a swift solution.

“It’s not a good look, is it?” Brundle said on Sky Sports News when responding to the early stoppage of FP1.

“And we had Max [Verstappen] and other drivers moaning about the hype and the show yesterday, so there’s been a lot of sort of negative publicity really, unfortunately.

“But providing they can get that sorted out, I think the place is going to look incredible for the race.

“I think the racing should be good. The track is never going to be an all-time classic track, I think it could be an all-time classic venue, but only if we get on the racetrack.”

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The FIA have been hard at work trying to make the track safe to run with around 30 manhole covers predicted to have been seen to around the circuit over the past few hours.

Having been worked on, Formula 1 confirmed that FP2 would in fact go ahead after a lengthy two-hour delay, which would be extended to a 90-minute session that would finish at 3.30am local time.

Brundle said it would be “impressive” if the authorities could get the track ready to run again, but acknowledged that while it is not a new problem in Formula 1, it remains a “massive issue.”

“It’s particularly difficult here because it’s the Las Vegas Strip, which they want to keep opening every opportunity as well to help the local traffic, so it’s a living road we’re talking about, not just a piece of racetrack,” Brundle explained.

“We have been here many times before with manhole covers on street circuits and drains on circuits like Sepang in Malaysia, over in China, Jenson Button in Monaco.

“Esteban Ocon is also having a new chassis in his Alpine and they can’t let this happen again.

“That’ll be quite an impressive job to say ‘that’s good to go’.

“Now, we used to have a regulation that before you had a Grand Prix, you had to have had another significant race meeting beforehand to check the systems out, check the track out, but that fell away and in the lockdown when we had all those pop-up races, that wasn’t going to happen there either.

“So yeah, it’s a massive issue compounded by the fact of where we are and how new this all is.”

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