Formula 1 is preparing for the Las Vegas Grand Prix this weekend and it’s been a bit of a rocky road for the event thus far.
F1 is going through some extensive lengths to ensure that those without a ticket are not able to even catch a glimpse of the track, which has caused quite the uproar with some fans as view of the iconic Las Vegas Boulevard have been blocked to prevent crowds from gathering to watch on the pedestrian bridge.
As you may have guessed, that didn’t sit well with the people of Sin City and very quickly those screens were ripped apart.
But F1 wasn’t going to chalk it up as a loss and have now replaced the screens and covered them with cages to prevent any further damage, as well as added lights to reflect up on the screens to fully block the view.
As if that wasn’t enough headache for the race, another issue, this time on the track, happened just 8 minutes into the first practice round. Driver Carlos Sainz was ripping down the street at around 200 miles per hour when his Ferrari hit a loose manhole cover, causing the car to lose control and sent a massive cloud of spark flying into the air.
Another driver, Esteban Ocon, also smashed into the loose debris on the track. Sainz’s Ferrari was said to have taken “extensive” damage while Ocon’s will need a new chassis.
Fortunately there were no reported injuries, but Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur was quick to call the crash “unacceptable”.
“We had a very tough FP1 that is going to cost us a fortune. We f**ked up the session for Carlos. We won’t be part of the FP2 for sure, we have to change the chassis for the car. It is unacceptable for F1. You would be upset in this situation.”
Mercedes principal Toto Wolff was then asked if the incident was an embarrassment for F1’s return to Las Vegas after 41 years away, a decision many were questioning for many reasons, including driver safety and road conditions, to which he said the following:
“That is not a black eye. This is nothing. We are Thursday night, we have a free practice session one that we’re not doing. They are going to seal the drain covers and nobody is going to talk about it tomorrow morning.
It’s completely ridiculous. Completely ridiculous. FP1, how can you even dare try to talk bad about an event that sets a new standard to everything? You’re speaking about a f**king drain cover that’s been undone. That has happened before. That’s nothing. It’s FP1.
We shouldn’t be moaning. The car’s broken. That’s really a shame for Carlos. It could have been dangerous, so between the FIA and the track needs to analyze how we can make sure that this is not happening again. But talking here about a black eye for the sport on a Thursday evening, nobody watches that in European time, anyway.”
Toto Wolff doing his bit for Liberty, F1 and Las Vegas GP…
So it will only become a serious issue if it happens to one of your guys, and only if Carlos Sainz has gotten seriously injured?
Strong words from one of the bigger names in the sport…
F1 Las Vegas confirmed the crash was caused by a single water valve cover and they are working to secure all of the other manholes on the course with concrete frames and potentially by welding them shut.