Formula 1’s return to Las Vegas was thrown into chaos as the opening practice session was cancelled after just eight minutes of action due to a broken drain cover damaging the cars of Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon.
With F1 returning to Las Vegas for the first time since 1982 on an all-new circuit, a red flag was thrown by the race director after Ocon’s Alpine and then Sainz’s Ferrari suffered significant damage having run over the damaged part of the track on the main straight.
A further 11 minutes passed before a decision was taken to cancel the session, with second practice uncertain to start as scheduled at 8am.
An FIA statement said: “Following inspection, it was the concrete frame around a manhole cover that has failed.
Speaking in the team principal’s press conference immediately after the session, Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur described the incident as “unacceptable” while confirming damage to Sainz’s monocoque, engine, and battery.
Alpine, meanwhile, confirmed that the chassis would need to be changed on Ocon’s car.
The other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc was top of the timesheet when the session was halted, but the extremely limited running offered next to no clue as to what the running order will be for the remainder of the weekend.