F1: Las Vegas Grand Prix practice has been canceled in a farcical start to the sport’s latest race

F1: Las Vegas Grand Prix practice has been canceled in a farcical start to the sport’s latest race

The inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix got off to a farcical start on Thursday evening as first practice was canceled due to a loose drain cover on track.

The first session of Formula 1’s newest event lasted just eight minutes before Carlos Sainz’s car came to a stop on the long Vegas strip.

Replays show that his Ferrari, traveling at speeds in excess of 200mph, passed over a loose drain cover before the Spaniard swerved to the side and brought the car to a halt due to extensive damage to the floor.

The red flag was thrown and shortly after the stewards announced that the session would not resume. The Independent has learned that more than one drain cover on the track came loose during those opening minutes of the session, meaning they will now all have to be checked around the 3.8-mile circuit before the cars can get back on track.

There is now a race against time to fix the problem on the surface. The FIA ​​announced that second practice would be postponed beyond the original start time of midnight (8am GMT), and later confirmed that they intended to resume proceedings from 2am local time (10am GMT).

The FIA ​​stated: “After inspection, it was the concrete frame surrounding the manhole cover that failed.

“We now need to check all the other manhole covers, which will take some time.

“We will discuss with the local circuit engineering team the length of time it will take to resolve the issue and will update any resulting changes to the timeline.”

The rescheduled FP2 session is scheduled to be extended to 90 minutes, subject to the completion of engineering works.

Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur later described the incident as “unacceptable” in a fiery Formula 1 rant.

The first practice at the Las Vegas Grand Prix was canceled due to a loose drain cover on the track

(Getty Images)

Carlos Sainz stopped at the Vegas strip after his Ferrari sustained extensive damage from a manhole

(Getty Images)

Vasseur added that Sainz will definitely not participate in the second free practice if it is held on Friday.

Alpine also announced that Esteban Ocon’s chassis will be changed due to damage to the drain cover.

It’s a chaotic start to the Formula 1 race weekend, and they’re the only promoters for the first race on the streets of Sin City.

Fans in the stands jeered when word came over the PA system that the session would be cancelled.

A similar incident involving a manhole occurred in Azerbaijan in 2019, when George Russell’s Williams car was damaged while driving after driving over a drain cover in Baku.

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