Las Vegas Grand Prix descends into farce as first practice cancelled and statement released

F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix

The Las Vegas Grand Prix has descended into a farce with practice cancelled

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 17/11/2023

- 07:57

Updated: 17/11/2023

- 08:51

The event is one of the most-anticipated in the sport's entire history

The F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix has descended into a farce with first practice cancelled on Friday.

The much-anticipated race has cost organisers a huge amount to get sorted but, just two days before the main event, there have been problems over in America.

Practice ended after just eight minutes, with Carlos Sainz's Ferrari hitting a drain.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon also ran into a loose manhole cover, with track marshals and officials tending to the track ahead of second practice later today.

Las Vegas Grand Prix

The Las Vegas Grand Prix has descended into a farce with F1 marshals looking at a manhole cover


The event on Friday had been expected to host as many as 100,000 fans.

Addressing the issue, an FIA spokesman released a statement to explain the issue in Sin City.

"Following inspection, it was the concrete frame around a manhole cover that failed," they said.

"We now have to check all of the other manhole covers and that will take some time.

"We will be discussing with the local engineering team how long it will take to resolve and will update any changes to the schedule."

It is currently unclear if second practice will go ahead as F1 chiefs look to ensure the safety of their drivers.

Some fans have paid as much as £150,000 in order to attend the event.

Supporters sat in the stands around the Vegas Strip booed and jeered as the halt was called.

Red Bull chief Christian Horner looked concerned as he discussed the situation with Ferrari's Fred Vasseur.

Ferrari have confirmed Sainz's vehicle sustained extensive damage due to the incident.

Only five laps were completed and Vegas chiefs now face a race against time to get the problems solved.

The FIA will be scrutinised, too, having signed off the track with race director Niels Wittich facing uncomfortable questions.

Just weeks ago, the FIA were satisfied everything would go ahead as planned.

Horner, reacting to the delay, said: "It’s a shame we are not allowed on track.

"They are going to have to check all the manhole covers and weld them or do something because you can see the damage it’s done. We are all good. No damage for us so far.

"They have got to be flexible. It’s a great shame for the fans but safety comes first.

"We have got to get this right and hopefully it won't take too long."

And Sky Sports pundit Martin Brundle added: "That’s it for today from my experience.

"Fixing that and checking everything else, letting it dry and making sure it won’t come out again is a big job.

"Theoretically, they are going to open the Strip after the F1 sessions.


Christian Horner

Christian Horner was concerned after the first Las Vegas Grand Prix practice was cancelled


"That's a very, very big issue if there are other areas like that around the track.

"It’s that moment at top speed where the cars run at the lowest and it compresses the aerodynamics, so that’s going to show up first and they will have to check everything else.

"We had it in Sportscar racing. I remember in Montreal, it went through the floor and the fuel tank and blew the things to bits."

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