Drain cover repairs, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024 pre-season test

Sainz was telling marshal to wave yellow flag when Leclerc hit drain cover

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Carlos Sainz Jnr was alerting marshals to the danger of debris on track when his team mate hit a loose drain cover during today’s test.

This morning test session at the Bahrain International Circuit was abandoned after Charles Leclerc damaged his Ferrari’s floor on the debris, which was also hit by Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.

Sainz, who had a similar experience when his car struck a broken water valve cover in Las Vegas last year, saw today’s scene unfold first-hand. “I was actually standing right in front of the drain cover when it came out, because I went on track to see,” he told the official Formula 1 channel.

He realised the marshals had not noticed the drain cover had worked loose on the kerb approaching turn 11 and was in the process of warning them when Leclerc’s car arrived.

“I was looking at it [thinking] ‘yellow flag it, yellow flag it, yellow flag it, someone’s going to take it!’ Boom, my team mate came and took it.

“So, I felt like it could have been avoided in a way. I missed it by one lap because I went to speak to a marshal and just when I was speaking to him, ‘yellow flag it…’ So I feel a bit to blame.”

Ferrari fitted a spare floor to Leclerc’s car while the damage to the track was repaired. Sainz was due to replace him during the afternoon session, but Leclerc remained in the car for the first hour when running resumed ahead of schedule following the early lunch break prompted by the disruption. Sainz has since taken over the car and will complete the final four hours of running.

Last year Ferrari complained about how marshals reacted to the loose water valve cover Sainz struck during practice for the Las Vegas Grand Prix. Team principal Frederic Vasseur said they were too slow to red-flag the session after spotting the damage to the track surface.

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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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8 comments on “Sainz was telling marshal to wave yellow flag when Leclerc hit drain cover”

  1. It really is amazing how these things keep happening. Glad that nobody got hurt though. And fortunate this happened during testing and not in a session with all cars on track.

  2. BTW, Sainz really should be glad he spotted this and did go an get a marshal to throw a yellow. Sure, a tad to late to be effective, but still.

  3. Coventry Climax
    22nd February 2024, 12:21

    So now we have to wait for the FiA sanctioning Ferrari for changing drivers during a test session?

    You want to run a show circus? Let the clowns handle it.

  4. Normally it doesn’t rain but a week ago it rained very hard maybe rusted and gave away?

  5. This seems to happen a lot more since Charlie passed away.

    1. Applying and enforcing F1’s rules seems to happen a lot more since then too.

    2. Japanese GP 2014 happened on Whitings watch so things haven’t changed that much.

  6. Malaysia 2017 – Grosjean
    China 2005 – Montoya
    Azerbaijan 2016 – Bottas
    Monaco 2016 – Button

    All under Whiting’s watch. That’s not a slight on Whiting, it’s just that it happens reasonably often.

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