First practice fiasco: Loose manhole cover halts Formula 1 race in Las Vegas

DThe first practice session of the Las Vegas Grand Prix was stopped after just eight minutes on Thursday evening (local time) and then cancelled. A “manhole cover problem” on the world-famous Las Vegas Boulevard strip has interrupted the first laps of Formula 1 cars ahead of the penultimate race of the year this Sunday (7am), the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) has announced. morning Central European Time). Ticker FAZ in real time for Formula 1 and on Sky).

As the FIA ​​further reported, the concrete frame of the manhole cover broke. “Now we need to check all the manhole covers, this will take some time.” The FIA ​​said it wanted to discuss how long it would take to resolve the problem with the route architects and engineers. The schedule for the remainder of the race weekend may have to be adjusted. It remained unclear whether the second training session, scheduled for midnight (9:00 am CET), could take place.

Damage ‘quite extensive’

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz had previously driven a nearly two-kilometer straight past the city’s largest casinos when his car suddenly had an accident. A warning message immediately flashed on his steering wheel: “Stop, turn off the engine.” Presumably a piece of asphalt came off from the frame of the damaged manhole cover. Training was initially interrupted.

For a moment, world television showed how some official vehicles drove out, and workers inspected the route. Eleven minutes later, race management finally announced that the practice, originally scheduled for one hour, could not continue.

Ferrari initially described the damage to Sainz’s company car as “quite extensive”, without going into detail. The damaged car was taken away on a tow truck. Alpine pilot Esteban Ocon suffered a similar fate. As Alpine stated, the chassis of the Frenchman’s car had to be changed. Apparently he also received a blow. Due to the cancellation of training, the remaining teams and pilots are missing out on valuable time to familiarize themselves with the new slope.

For race organizers in Vegas, a broken manhole cover was a disaster on the first day. For the first time in forty years, the premier class is once again circling the gambling city. The organizer is Formula 1 itself. According to reports, it has invested more than 650 million dollars (600 million euros) into this.

Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine

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