Chaos at Las Vegas Grand Prix: Practice Halted Due to Damaged Drain Covers

The first Formula One practice of the Las Vegas Grand Prix faced turmoil as it came to an abrupt halt just eight minutes into the session due to a broken drain cover.

This unexpected incident led to significant damage to the cars of drivers Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon.

Red Flag and Inspection:

After a hiatus since 1982, F1 returned to Las Vegas on a new circuit, with fans paying hefty sums for the privilege to witness the event.

The session was stopped by a red flag after Ocon’s Alpine and Sainz’s Ferrari suffered damage from running over the broken part of the track.

A statement by race officials revealed that a water valve cover had failed, prompting Formula One, FIA, and local engineers to work on resolving the issue.

Uncertainty and Fan Reactions:

The FIA later disclosed that Sainz had hit the concrete frame around a manhole cover, necessitating an inspection of all manhole covers on the course.

With up to 100,000 fans present, uncertainty loomed over the schedule, and fans expressed their disappointment through boos from the stands.

Challenges and Safety Concerns:

The incident raises questions about the track’s approval by the FIA, the governing body, and the responsibility of race director Niels Wittich.

Safety concerns surfaced as the FIA indicated the need to inspect and address all manhole covers.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner emphasized the importance of ensuring safety and flexibility in dealing with the situation.

Expert Opinions and Reflection:

Sky pundit Martin Brundle highlighted the challenges of fixing the issue and the potential impact on the aerodynamics of the cars.

Questions arose about the reopening of public roads around the track, considering the Boulevard’s significance in Las Vegas.

Alpine team principal Fred Vasseur criticized the situation as unacceptable for Formula One and announced changes needed for the chassis.

The unexpected interruption during the Las Vegas Grand Prix practice session has stirred disarray and safety concerns.

The incident prompts a thorough inspection of the track’s infrastructure and raises questions about the event’s continuity and impact on public access.

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