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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