Las Vegas Grand Prix practice session cancelled for hugely embarrassing reason
A total farce.
Formula One bosses were dealt a hugely embarrassing blow after first practice for the Las Vegas Grand Prix was cancelled.
The running under the lights of the Las Vegas strip was suspended when Carlos Sainz broke down in his Ferrari with just eight minutes on the clock.
A further 11 minutes passed before it was announced the session would not be resumed – it emerged Sainz’s failure was caused by a loose manhole cover.
Television replays showed Sainz being jolted in his cockpit as the cover struck the underneath of his machine as he approached 200mph on the Las Vegas Boulevard.
Esteban Ocon also smashed into the debris – against the backdrop of Caesars Palace, Bellagio and Venetian hotels – causing significant damage to his Alpine.
Ferrari described the damage to Sainz’s car as ‘extensive’, while Alpine said Ocon will require a new chassis.
Ferrari team principal Frederic Masseur said: ‘He (Sainz) said I hit something on track, and he didn’t know what it was. It is just unacceptable for F1.’
An FIA spokesperson said: ‘Following an inspection, a concrete frame around a manhole cover has failed.
‘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 we will update with any resultant changes to the schedule.’
Second practice, which was due to begin at midnight local time (8:00 GMT), has been delayed and there are significant doubts if there will be any running today at the 3.8-mile temporary street venue.
Speaking on Sky Sports, pundit and former driver Martin Brundle, said: ‘That’s it for today from my experience.
‘Fixing that and checking everything else, letting it dry and making sure it won’t come out again is going to be a big job.
‘Theoretically, they are going to re-open the Strip (for public use) after the F1 practice sessions. That is a very, very big issue if there are other areas like that around the track.’
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