Ferrari chief Fred Vasseur claims that the drain cover which has put Carlos Sainz’s place in second practice under threat is ‘unacceptable’ in Formula One, after the first session was called off after just eight minutes. 

Las Vegas has waited over 40 years to host a race on the F1 circuit, but after a spectacular opening ceremony filled with glitz and glamour, the opening practice session was called to an abrupt halt. 

Spanish driver Sainz’s SF-23 was put out of action after going over a loose drain cover on the street circuit, causing huge damage to the underside of his car. 

As such, the practice session ground to a halt in a nightmare start to the weekend, and was later cancelled entirely as a result. To add insult to injury, Sainz was given a grid penalty for changing parts after the FIA insisted regulations meant they were not allowed to overlook it, despite him not being at fault. 

Pictures emerged showing the ruined underbelly of his car, with several pieces of debris that were ripped from his car as a result of the collision, which understandably left team principal Vasseur seething. 

Attempts were later made to fill in the drainage cover and rectify the damage already caused

Attempts were later made to fill in the drainage cover and rectify the damage already caused

Ferrari chief Fred Vasseur was fuming at the 'unacceptable' incident that damaged one of his cars

Ferrari chief Fred Vasseur was fuming at the ‘unacceptable’ incident that damaged one of his cars

Carlos Sainz was ruled out of the second free practice session after going over a loose drain cover

Carlos Sainz was ruled out of the second free practice session after going over a loose drain cover

‘We had a very tough FP1, this will cost us a fortune,’ he revealed when quizzed on the session.

‘We f***ed up the session for Carlos. We won’t be part of FP2 for sure, we have to change the chassis and two-thirds of the car.

LAS VEGAS GP WEEKEND SCHEDULE 

November 17: Practice 2 (10am GMT/2am PST)

November 18: Practice 3 (4.30am GMT/8.30pm PST)

November 18: Qualifying (8am GMT/12am PST)

November 19: Race (6am GMT/10pm PST) 

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‘OK, the show is the show and everything is going well, but I think it’s just unacceptable for F1 today.’

As Sainz went over the offending drain, sparks were sent flying from the base of his car as the damage was done. 

Vasseur hinted that the Italian outfit could be looking at some costly repairs to get Sainz’s car back in action for the rest of the weekend. 

He also claimed that the car had  a damaged chassis, engine and battery.

And things quickly went from bad to worse for Sainz and Ferrari, with the driver handed a 10-place grid penalty by the FIA for having to replace the damaged parts. 

An FIA statement claimed that they had received a request to grant a replacement from outside the pool to be allowed due to the extenuating circumstances of the incident, but they were not allowed to do so by regulations. 

‘The Stewards note that if they had the authority to grant a derogation in what they consider in this case to be mitigating, unusual and unfortunate circumstance, they would have done so, however the regulations do not allow such action,’ it read. 

It was unfortunate timing for the race organisers, with the Las Vegas GP so highly-anticipated – especially after the show put on for the opening ceremony before the first session. 

‘The show is mega and I am very happy with what [F1 owners] Liberty [Media] did around the race but we have to separate the show and the sporting side,’ added Vasseur.

‘The opening ceremony was something mega in F1 but it is not because you are doing this that you don’t have to do the job on the sporting side. You can do the show and do a good job on the sporting side.’

Sparks flew from the base of Sainz's car as he went over the offending drainage cover

Sparks flew from the base of Sainz’s car as he went over the offending drainage cover

Pictures of the debris that came from Sainz's SF-23 emerged highlighting the damage done

Pictures of the debris that came from Sainz’s SF-23 emerged highlighting the damage done 

Sainz's car was lifted from the track onto the back of a lorry to be taken back to the Ferrari garage

Sainz’s car was lifted from the track onto the back of a lorry to be taken back to the Ferrari garage

Only five laps were completed in front of the crowds in Vegas before things were halted

Only five laps were completed in front of the crowds in Vegas before things were halted 

The roads were scheduled to be reopened to the public in Vegas around the sessions

The roads were scheduled to be reopened to the public in Vegas around the sessions 

The crew for Alpine check Esteban Ocon's chassis for possible damage from the cover

The crew for Alpine check Esteban Ocon’s chassis for possible damage from the cover

Organisers face a race against time as they seek to rectify the issue before the roads begin their reopening process 4am PST. 

Failure to do so could only compound the chaos, with early morning commuters caught in the confusion if roads are not fully cleared by 6am PST. 

A statement from Formula One read: ‘Practice 2 is expected to commence at 2am local time in Las Vegas. This is subject to local circuit engineering team completing the necessary works on the track. The session will be extended to 90 minutes.’  

Sainz was not the only one impacted by the drain cover, with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon also picking up damage and needing repairs to his chassis.  

Source: | This article originally belongs to Daily Mail

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