It’s already gone wrong at the Vegas Grand Prix as FP2 was delayed due to a faulty drain cover causing severe damage on track.
The drivers were on track for less than ten minutes before FP1 was stopped due to drain covers on the track. This may seem a bit confusing, especially as it’s not a typical problem for a majority of tracks on the calendar.
One of the most basic checks to be conducted, drain covers on the track should be secure and ready for cars to hit the track. Instead, a single water valve cover failed during the first Vegas Grand Prix practice session – what a track.
The Ferrari of Carlos Sainz stopped on the track only eight minutes into the first practice session. The drain cover issue led to damage to the Ferrari, causing severe damage that will lead to changing the chassis, ICE, ES, and CE.
Esteban Ocon even picked up some damage along the way and will have to replace his chassis too. A single faulty drain cover has caused a significant amount of damage all due to the failure of basic checks.
FP1 came to a halt as checks on the drain covers were beginning. Fans paying thousands would expect basic track checks to be done before the drivers even get to the track. With this one drain cover needing a check, every single other drain cover on track will need one too.
The FIA has released a statement: “Following inspection, it was the concrete frame around a manhole cover that 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 will update with any resultant changes to the schedule.”
It is likely that the damage reported by Carlos Sainz on track is much more severe than expected. The brand-new circuit is simply not ready for Formula 1 cars, despite all the marketing. Several drivers and team members have already come out to share their disappointment so far.
Ferrari Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur is livid and says: “We damaged completely the monocoque, the engine, the battery. I think it’s just unacceptable.
It cost us a fortune. We fucked up the session for Carlos. We won’t be part of FP2 for sure. I think it’s just unacceptable for F1 today.”
With FP2 scheduled for midnight local time, track repairs are bound to delay the show for everyone on track. The Vegas Grand Prix has been a talking point for months with fans questioning the legitimacy of the race, and this debacle doesn’t help the case.
During the delay, Carlos Sainz picked up a 10-place grid penalty for replacing the damaged parts on his Ferrari. The FIA released a statement detailing the reprimand as Ferrari was not given the “authority” to replace the parts.
After the long delay, fans were instructed to leave the track before FP2 due to a lack of staff. With all drain covers seemingly checked, FP2 was reported to begin at 2:30 AM local time.
FP2 went underway and showed the empty crowds what a messy show the Vegas Grand Prix would be.