Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Las Vegas Strip Circuit, 2023

Ferrari slate “unacceptable” Las Vegas GP preparation after drain damage

Formula 1

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Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur vehemently criticised Formula 1’s preparation for the Las Vegas Grand Prix after a loose drain cover damaged one of their cars.

Carlos Sainz Jnr struck the cover on the Strip approaching turn 14 less than 10 minutes into the first practice session at a speed of around 300kph, causing significant damage to his car’s floor.

Vasseur described the extent of the damage his car sustained. “We damaged completely the monocoque, the engine, the battery,” he said. “I think it’s just unacceptable.”

The first practice session was abandoned after Sainz’s stoppage. Esteban Ocon also sustained damage to his car in a similar incident. The FIA and F1 has not confirmed whether second practice will go ahead as planned at midnight local time.

Vasseur said the damage to Sainz’s car “cost us a fortune” and “we fucked up the session for Carlos.”

“We won’t be part of FP2 for sure,” he added. “I think it’s just unacceptable for F1 today.”

Checks of all the drains around the circuit have begun. The Las Vegas Grand Prix promoter issued a statement saying “a single water valve cover” had failed.

Vasseur said it will be vital for the team to make the most out of whatever remaining practice time it has.

“We know that it’s a sporting event, we know that this can happen,” he said. “You can have a bad FP1 and now we have to recover on the weekend and we have to find solutions.

“Track time is crucial in this kind of event with a new track for the drivers but a new track also for us. It means that if Carlos misses FP2 at the end of the sporting side it will be detrimental but I will keep in mind also that it could have been much worse.

“We will do our best over the weekend. It’s a long way but in every single detail it’s important.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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12 comments on “Ferrari slate “unacceptable” Las Vegas GP preparation after drain damage”

  1. Is it the FIA responsible for this mess? Since they green-lighted the track?
    Or Liberty / F1 the culprit. Given that they made the track?

    1. In Baku 2019 the promotor (more precisely, their insurer) paid Williams for the damage resulting from a loose drain cover.

      I’m not sure if this situation is the same and what FIA’s responsibility is (I assume Baku was green-lighted as well).

      1. Liberty media is the promotor for this one. They ditched out 500 million for organising this one race where they are the promotor themselves. and i think they are gonna have to pay a bit more to ferrari and alpharomeo too…..

        so far it all is a bit disgrace and a big bucket of barf.

        1. The proper name is Alfa Romeo

          1. And it wa an Alpine (OCO) that was damaged.

          2. Alphine ?

  2. I wholly understand his frustration, & hope that no more similar incidents occur this weekend, although unfortunately, I’m not wholly hopeful about that.

  3. Appropriate that a trip to Vegas has cost them a fortune.

    1. it’s sad for the people who payed 3000$$ for a grandstand seat and getting a less than impressive opening show (i’m being kind here) and 10 minutes of cars on track.

      1. I’m wondering how long the “highlights” items on YouTube etc are going to be, in fact I wonder if you could finish a cup of coffee before the end.
        Pity the poor souls who spent their earnings on tickets.

        So many other places bumped off the calendar for allegedly not matching the standards.

  4. This is just not a place for an F1 race. Sure, its great from a marketing and revenue angle.. but its not a race track, or even a part of the city that makes for an interesting race. Then you have the backlash from the Las Vegas resident regarding the inconvenience caused to setup this race. Exorbitant ticket prices for race attendees just add fuel to the fire.

    Las vegas is all about their shows, performances and entertainment… but that doesn’t apply to a sport like F1 at all, and this FP1 farce is a perfect example of how the race attendees, F1 viewers, F1 teams and broadcasters are all just ticked off.

  5. Nora Sullivan Suminski
    17th November 2023, 9:01

    Having went to Vegas’s last weekend it was a disaster w/ staff wanting to strike as the hotels /casinos have not paid workers their pre Covid wages and it was complete mess with construction. Def not ADA friendly. Many drivers stated Vegas was not ready. Now they are kicking All the homeless out of the tunnels which seems like the most foolish ideas. Where will they end up? All over the strip. Homeless are down on luck as it is. They are not second class citizens ! Why make life even harder?

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