The lead-up to the highly anticipated Las Vegas Grand Prix faced an unexpected setback as the initial practice session was abruptly canceled, casting a shadow over the debut return of Formula 1 to the city since 1982. The excitement was dampened when the cars of Carlos Sainz's Ferrari and Esteban Ocon's Alpin suffered significant damage, bringing the training session to an early halt.
The incident unfolded when both vehicles traversed a section of the track, only to encounter a broken manhole cover that inflicted substantial harm on their respective machines. The severity of the damages prompted the immediate deployment of the red flag, signaling a halt to the proceedings just eight minutes into the scheduled practice.
The unexpected turn of events unfolded against the backdrop of the long-awaited Formula 1 comeback to the vibrant city of Las Vegas. Race officials swiftly assessed the situation, and it became evident that the concrete frame surrounding the compromised manhole cover had failed.
This discovery triggered concerns about the safety of the entire track, prompting a thorough inspection of all other manhole covers. The gravity of the situation required an 11-minute deliberation period by race management, during which they made the decisive call to cancel the first practice session.
A Formula 1 press release shed light on the situation, stating, "After inspecting the track, we found that the concrete frame around the manhole cover had failed. We now need to check all the other manhole covers, which will take some time.
We will be talking to the local engineering team about the time it will take to resolve this and will advise of any schedule changes." As Formula 1 enthusiasts eagerly awaited the resumption of on-track action, the focus shifted to the impending second training session scheduled to commence at 9 a.m.
CET. The unprecedented circumstances surrounding the damaged track added an air of uncertainty to the event, leaving both teams and fans anxiously anticipating updates on the resolution and potential alterations to the race schedule. This news stunned the drivers as well as their teams because a major tragedy was avoided.