Opening practice at Las Vegas cancelled after loose manhole cover

Opening practice at Las Vegas cancelled after loose manhole cover

The first practice for the Las Vegas Grand Prix was cancelled after a loose manhole cover on the circuit damaged Sainz’s and Ocon’s car.

The highly anticipated inaugural race on Formula One’s newly constructed Las Vegas Grand Prix circuit didn’t go smoothly. Carlos Sainz Jr.’s Ferrari and Esteban Ocon’s Alpine both suffered damages within eight minutes of taking to the track and the practice session was abruptly ended.

A loose manhole cover was the reason behind Sainz’s failure, and 11 minutes later, at 8:49 p.m. local time it was revealed that the session would not resume.

“Following an inspection, a concrete frame around a manhole cover has failed,” an FIA spokesperson said. “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 we will update with any resultant changes to the schedule.”

TV footage captured Sainz getting jolted in his cockpit as the cover hit his vehicle’s underbelly while he approached 200 mph on the Las Vegas Boulevard.

Additionally, Esteban Ocon crashed into the debris, seriously damaging his Alpine against the backdrop of Caesars Palace, Bellagio and Venetian hotels.

According to Ferrari, Sainz’s car sustained severe damage while Ocon requires a new chassis, according to Alpine.

“Sainz said I hit something on track, and he didn’t know what it was,” Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur said. “It is just unacceptable for F1.”

Even worse, Ferrari had to replace Carlos Sainz’s car’s power unit due to damage caused by the manhole cover, which will significantly affect his race. On race day, he will be assessed a ten-place grid penalty since he has already used up all of his allotted units for the season.

The driver probably won’t find any comfort in the fact that F1’s stewards appear to be sorry for penalizing him under such peculiar circumstances.

Meanwhile, the damage will have shorter-term effects for Esteban Ocon. F1 reports that no penalties were imposed on him despite the fact that the French driver’s Alpine F1 car’s chassis had to be replaced after the incident.

Drainage cover issues are nothing new in F1. A manhole cover at the Baku Grand Prix in Azerbaijan was sucked off the ground in its inaugural year.

For street races, the sport does mandate that these infrastructure components get welded or fastened to the ground. However, in this case, F1 discovered that the concrete surrounding the manhole cover was weak.

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