Eight minutes into the first free practice of the opening weekend of racing on the streets of Las Vegas, Sainz suffered extensive damage to his Ferrari’s chassis, floor and power unit after tearing off the concrete frame of the manhole cover on the famous sector.
In a separate incident, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon also suffered significant damage, requiring the body to be replaced.
Sainz’s incident brought out a red flag, and the session was quickly canceled as track workers were asked to inspect every manhole cover on the 6.2km street layout, with discussions taking place to extend FP2 on Thursday night instead.
When asked to comment on the damage to Sainz’s car, team principal Vasseur said: “The situation is that we have completely damaged the monocoque, the engine and the battery. I think this is unacceptable.”
“We had a very difficult game. This will cost us a fortune. We spoiled the session for Carlos. We will not be part of FP2 for sure, we have to change the structure.
“Well, the show is the show and everything is going well but I think it is unacceptable for Formula 1 today.”
Photography: Simon Galloway / Motorsport pictures
Carlos Sainz’s car, a Ferrari SF-23, was taken away after colliding with a drain cover
The accident caused major disruption to the first day of racing, but it could have ended much worse had it occurred on the fastest section of the circuit, a 1.9km track down the sector.
Early investigations by Ferrari concluded that Sainz’s seat was also damaged by the impact.
When asked if he felt Formula 1 had its priorities right after hyping its glamorous return to Las Vegas before suffering initial problems with the safety of the actual circuit, Vasseur wanted to keep the two topics separate.
“We don’t have to mix everything. I think the offer is huge and I’m very happy with what Liberty is offering [Media] Done about racing. He replied: “I think it is a big step forward for Formula 1.”
“We have to separate what the show is from the sports side, and the show is huge. But just because we’re doing this, you don’t have to do the job on the sports side.”
McLaren team boss Zak Brown also believes it is unfair to suggest that the series has gone out of its way to try and hold the event in a compressed timeframe.
“I think first and foremost, any time you have an accident, we first have to fix it,” he added. “Then look back and ask: ‘How did it happen?’ Whether it was a track problem or a problem with your car or whatever the case may be.”
“I think it would be unfair and too quick to judge that corners have been cut. This has happened before.
“I don’t think it’s because of a lack of effort or cutting corners. But somehow they got it wrong.
“For now, we just need to focus on fixing it. I’m sure it was an engineering issue and will be resolved.”
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