Las Vegas GP press conference erupts with furious Toto Wolff outburst

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes CEO and team principal Toto Wolff.

Toto Wolff was furious in the Las Vegas GP team boss press conference.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff took serious issue to a reporter claiming that the events of FP1 at the Las Vegas Grand Prix were a “black eye” for Formula 1.

With only eight minutes gone in FP1, the first-ever Las Vegas Grand Prix session, Carlos Sainz brought his Ferrari to a stop down the Strip straight.

Footage showed car and driver taking a serious jolt as the message appeared on Sainz’s steering wheel to stop the car, as it emerged that a concrete drain frame had been sucked up and destroyed the underside of the Ferrari.

Toto Wolff slams Las Vegas GP criticism over a “f***ing drain cover”

The session of course was not resumed as an assessment of the drains around the track begun and in the team bosses’ press conference, a member of the media suggested this was a “black eye” for Formula 1, the Las Vegas Grand Prix an event for which F1 itself is the promoter and cost north of $500 million.

Wolff’s response showed he did not take kindly to that at all, branding the claim “completely ridiculous” as he demanded praise for the work of all those involved in bringing F1 back to Las Vegas. recommends

F1 team principals: How long has each team boss been in charge?

Revealed: The contract status of every single race on the F1 2023 calendar

“That is not a black eye,” Wolff affirmed. “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 and 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!”

The start of FP2 was delayed, with a new local time of 0200 confirmed, 1000 UK, with the session extended from 60 to 90 minutes.

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