The cancellation of first practise for the Las Vegas Grand Prix dealt a severe blow to Formula One executives.
Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari broke down after just eight minutes of racing beneath the lights of the Las Vegas strip, forcing a suspension of the competition.
It was revealed after 11 more minutes that Sainz’s failure was due to a loose manhole cover, and the session would not be restarted.
Replays on television showed Sainz getting startled in his cockpit as the cover hit his machine’s underbelly as he neared 200 mph on the Las Vegas Boulevard.
In addition, Esteban Ocon crashed into the rubble, seriously damaging his Alpine against the backdrop of Caesars Palace, Bellagio, and Venetian hotels.
Sainz’s car had “extensive” damage, according to Ferrari, and Ocon will need a new chassis, according to Alpine.
SAINTZ claimed he hit something on the track, but Frederic Masseur, the principal of the Ferrari team, was unsure of what it was. It simply cannot be tolerated for F1.
“A concrete frame around a manhole cover has failed following an inspection,” an FIA official stated.
It will take some time to inspect all of the other manhole covers.
“We will communicate with the local circuit engineering team regarding the estimated time of resolution and provide updates on any resulting schedule modifications.”
The second practise, which was scheduled to start at midnight local time (8:00 GMT), has been postponed, and it’s quite unlikely that any running will take place at the makeshift 3.8-mile street course today.
Former driver and broadcaster Martin Brundle commented on Sky Sports: “That’s it for today from my experience.”
It will take a lot of work to fix that, check everything else, let it dry, and ensure it doesn’t come out again.
The Strip will supposedly reopen to the public following the Formula One practise sessions. If there are other places like that near the track, that is a really, really serious problem.