F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix: Practice sessions halted due to loose manhole cover
F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix practice session cancelled due to loose manhole cover; drivers' cars damaged, fans not allowed in next session.
The highly anticipated F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix got off to a rocky start due to a loose manhole cover on the track during the practice session. The first practice session was abruptly cancelled after just nine minutes when Carlos Sainz's Ferrari collided with the loose manhole cover, causing significant damage to his car.
The Principal of the Scuderia Ferrari, Frederic Vasseur, expressed his dissatisfaction with the incident, labeling it as "unacceptable." The second session, which commenced after a two and a half-hour delay, took place with empty stands as fans were not permitted to attend.
Fortunately, despite the damage to the cars, no injuries to the drivers were reported. However, the incident has raised concerns about the refunds for fans who were eagerly awaiting the practice session. Ticket sales were based on a package system, complicating the process of issuing refunds for the three-day event.
Both Sainz and Esteban Ocon's Alpine sustained damage from hitting the same manhole cover, raising questions about accountability for the incident. While F1 constructed the track in the casino country of Las Vegas, the responsibility for ensuring track safety lies with the FIA.
Las Vegas is hosting the event for the first time in 40 years, and F1 executives have hailed it as the "greatest show on Earth." However, the event has been marred by controversy, as this is not the first time the track has posed safety hazards for drivers. Similar incidents occurred in Monaco in 2016 and Azerbaijan in 2018, raising concerns about the safety of the track for future events.