F1’s Las Vegas Return Marred by Chaos: Practice Session Cut Short by Damaged Track

The inaugural Formula One practice for the Las Vegas Grand Prix encountered turmoil when a broken drain cover damaged the cars of drivers Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon, leading to a red flag just eight minutes into the session.

F1 returned to Las Vegas for the first time since 1982, with fans paying substantial amounts to witness the event.

Track Issues and Delayed Second Practice:

The race director called for a red flag after both Ocon’s Alpine and Sainz’s Ferrari suffered significant damage from the broken drain cover.

An inspection by Formula One and FIA revealed a failed water valve cover, prompting efforts to resolve the issue.

The second practice, originally scheduled for midnight local time, was delayed until 2 am, subject to completion of necessary track works, extending the session to 90 minutes.

Challenges for Race Officials and F1 Bosses:

Race officials faced a race against time to restore the schedule, with the roads scheduled to reopen to the public at 4 am.

The setback left F1 bosses red-faced, and fans booed as the halt was called.

The FIA announced the need to inspect every manhole cover on the course due to Sainz’s collision with the concrete frame around one.

Up to 100,000 fans were expected at the new circuit on the Strip as F1 aimed to deepen its presence in the American market.

Expert Commentary and Previous Incidents:

Experts and team bosses, including Christian Horner and Fred Vasseur, discussed the need for thorough inspections and potential solutions, emphasizing the importance of safety.

The incident raised questions about the readiness of the track, recalling similar events in Baku in 2019 and Monaco in 2016.

Horner expressed disappointment but highlighted the necessity of prioritizing safety.

Uncertainties and Weekend Schedule:

The delay in the schedule prompted uncertainties about opening the roads to the public and the impact on the Las Vegas Boulevard, a major artery in the city.

The weekend schedule, including Practice 2, Practice 3, Qualifying, and the Race, faced potential adjustments based on the ongoing review and repairs.

The unexpected challenges faced during the Las Vegas Grand Prix practice highlight the complexities of organizing a high-profile event.

The safety concerns and uncertainties around the schedule raise questions about the readiness of the track for Formula One racing.

Fans and F1 enthusiasts await updates on the resolution of the issues and the impact on the remainder of the race weekend.

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