The first free practice for the Grand Prix of Las Vegas ended in a deception on Thursday evening (local time). The session was stopped after eight minutes because a manhole cover had come loose on one of the straights.
“After inspection, it appeared that the concrete around a manhole cover had come loose. All other manhole covers must be checked. This will take some time,” the motorsport federation FIA said in a short statement after the incident.
Several cars had driven over the pit. Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari was seriously damaged and came to a standstill shortly afterwards. Esteban Ocon’s car also suffered significant damage. The chassis of both cars needs to be replaced. Sainz also gets a new engine.
Due to FIA controls, the start of the second training session in Las Vegas was postponed. It now started at 2:30 am local time and lasted an hour and a half to compensate for the time lost in the first training.
Formula 1 returns to Las Vegas this weekend after 41 years. After the GPs in Miami and Austin, it is the third race in the United States. The organization has spent around 460 million euros to make the event a success.
Cessation of first training blow for GP Las Vegas
The fact that the first free practice was canceled is a major blow to the organization of the Grand Prix of Las Vegas. There has been a lot of criticism in recent weeks, especially from the local population. Major access roads have been closed for months and ticket prices – the cheapest tickets for the race cost more than 920 euros – are unaffordable for many people.
Max Verstappen was also very critical of the event earlier this week. “This Grand Prix is 1 percent sporting event and 99 percent entertainment,” said the Dutchman, who secured his third world title earlier this year. In addition complained Verstappen and many other drivers about the extremely late timetable.
It is not the first time that a loose manhole cover has caused problems on a street circuit in Formula 1. The same thing happened in the first training at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in 2019. Manhole covers have also come loose at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Tijdschema Las Vegas (Nederlandse tijden)
- Zaterdag 5.30-6.30 uur: Derde vrije training
- Zaterdag 9.00-10.00 uur: Kwalificatie
- Zondag 7.00 uur: Race
The post first appeared on www.nu.nl