Practice for the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix halted due to drain cover issue.


After weeks of anticipation, Formula 1 cars finally hit the Las Vegas Strip Circuit last night for the first practice session of the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, but the excitement was short lived.

Just eight minutes into the session, it was brought to an end after a drain cover was ripped from the Las Vegas streets.

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Free Practice One in Las Vegas kicked off at 8:30 p.m. PST last night after months of construction work and preparations brought chaos to the city. After cars had completed just a few laps of the new 3.85-mile track, the city streets decided it was time for some pay back after all they had endured.

While the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz was speeding down the Las Vegas Strip, there was a huge clattering sound that can be heard from onboard shots shared by Formula 1. His steering wheel then flashes up warning him to stop the car after just eight minutes of running. The cause of the sound and the failure of Sainz’s car? A drain cover from the Las Vegas street had ripped free and smashed through the side of the Ferrari.

As Formula 1 confirmed: The FIA later confirmed that a concrete frame around a manhole cover had failed, which caused the damage to Sainz’s Ferrari, as well as the Alpine of Esteban Ocon – who the team confirmed would take a new chassis due to the hit.

Carlos Sainz is slowly learning he shouldn’t have put it all on red. Photo: Chris Graythen (Getty Images)After the drain cover was ripped out of the ground, Formula 1’s governing body the FIA announced that the session would not be resumed while repairs to the road were made and so that other drain covers on the circuit could be fixed.

This was bad news for the teams, as they need all the running they can get in order to master this brand new track ahead of Saturday’s race. But that wasn’t the only way that Sainz’s weekend was hampered by the incident. When the cover broke free from its earthly bonds, it ripped into the rear of his car damaging his power unit.

As such, the team has been forced to install a new engine in his Ferrari SF-23. Because of the new engine that’s gone into the back of Sainz’s car ahead of the race, the Spaniard has now been hit with a 10-place grid penalty due to the swap, reports Formula 1.

Sainz was handed the penalty as he has already used his allowance of power unit parts for the 2023 season.

Over the course of the season, each driver is permitted to use four internal combustion engines, turbo chargers, MGU-H units and MGU-K units. They can also use up two energy store systems and two control electronics units. If they use any components outside this allowance, they’re hit with grid penalties in the race.

As Formula 1 reports: The stewards determine that notwithstanding the fact that the damage was caused by highly unusual external circumstances, Article 2.1 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations obliges all officials, including the Stewards, to apply the regulations as they are written,” read the document. “Accordingly, the mandatory penalty specified under Article 28.3 of the Sporting Regulations must be applied.

Come on, you’ve got to admit this is cool? Photo: Mark Thompson (Getty Images) The drop on Saturday’s race will be particularly disappointing for Sainz as his Ferrari is looking quick around the Las Vegas Strip Circuit. In the delayed second practice session, his teammate Charles LecLerc topped the timings with a lap of 1:35.265 while Sainz was hot on his heels just half a second behind.

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