Glamour to Grid: Las Vegas Grand Prix Faces Turmoil with Drain Cover Debacle

Glamour to Grid: Las Vegas Grand Prix Faces Turmoil with Drain Cover Debacle

Las Vegas Grand Prix Chaos: Nightmare Start to Glitzy Weekend

The highly anticipated Las Vegas Grand Prix faced a chaotic beginning as the first practice session was abruptly halted after just eight minutes.

The culprit? A loose drain cover, resulting in significant damage to Ocon’s Alpine and Sainz’s Ferrari. The aftermath led to a nightmare start for Formula One’s glamorous weekend.

Second Practice: Delayed Start and Empty Stands

In an attempt to salvage the Grand Prix weekend, the second practice was rescheduled to start at 2.30am on Friday. However, the late start left many fans, who had paid $200 for tickets, absent from the stands. The delay caused a logistical challenge, with F1 officials rushing to re-open public roads by 4am on Friday.

Glitz and Glamour Fades: Fans Left Disappointed

Despite a glitzy opening ceremony featuring performances by Kylie Minogue, John Legend, Keith Urban, and DJ Steve Aoki, the chaotic start dampened the spirits of fans who had paid a hefty $185,000 (£150,000) for the privilege of attending the event in Sin City. The cancellation of the first practice led to rows of empty seats and boos from disappointed spectators.

FIA’s Inspection and Ferrari’s Setback

Race officials attributed the chaos to a failed water valve cover during the first practice. Sainz’s collision with a concrete frame around a manhole cover prompted the FIA to inspect every manhole cover on the course. Ferrari’s team boss, Fred Vasseur, expressed frustration, indicating that the incident would cost them significantly.

Toto Wolff’s Defense: Ridiculous Criticism

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff defended the Las Vegas Grand Prix amid criticism, dismissing the incident as minor. He emphasized that the event set new standards and downplayed the significance of the drain cover mishap during FP1.

Red Bull and Ferrari Assess Damage

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner discussed the situation with Ferrari’s Vasseur on the pit wall. Sainz’s high-speed encounter with the loose drain cover resulted in extensive damage to his car.

With only five laps completed in front of the crowds, teams assessed the impact and called for thorough checks on all manhole covers.

Uncertain Future: FIA’s Responsibility

Questions arose regarding the FIA’s responsibility as the governing body, raising concerns about track safety. Race director Niels Wittich faced scrutiny as teams and officials discussed the necessary measures to ensure the safety and integrity of the Las Vegas Grand Prix track.

Las Vegas GP Weekend Schedule

  • November 17: Practice 2 (8 am GMT/12 am PST)
  • November 18: Practice 3 (4.30 am GMT/8.30 pm PST)
  • November 18: Qualifying (8 am GMT/12 am PST)
  • November 19: Race (6 am GMT/10 pm PST)

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