FIA Inspection finds concrete frame around manhole cover failed
F1 opening practice session halted after issue with drain cover on the track.
The car of Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari is removed from the circuit on a truck after stopping on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Las Vegas at Las Vegas Strip Circuit on November 16, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo credit Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The opening Formula 1 practice session ended less than 10 minutes after beginning on the Las Vegas Strip late Thursday night. Track video showed the car of Spain's Carlos Sainz completely stopping after an issue with a manhole or drainage cover on the track. It was believed that Sainz Ferrari team would have to replace the chassis on his car. He wasn't the only driver to suffer damage to his race car. French driver Estaban Ocon also needed to have his Alpine car chassis replaced after a suspected drain cover issue.

An official statement from Las Vegas Grand Prix stated: "After inspection by Formula 1 and the FIA, a singe water valve cover on the Las Vegas Grand Prix circuit failed during the first practice session. The FIA, F1 and local circuit engineering teams are actively working to review and address the issue."

Angry Ferrari chief Frederic Vasseur called the incidents unacceptable saying "it cost us a fortune." He added, "We damaged completely the monocoque, the engine, the battery. I think it's just unacceptable."

Meanwhile, stewards reviewed every manhole cover on the circuit, which was designed for the race to be run on the famous Las Vegas Strip and city streets. Some questioned whether the Strip should be open to traffic, saying the track should have been inspected for the several days and hours leading up to race events. A few F1 teams are wondering why no other race has been run on the track to fix any issues before Formula 1 hit the city.

In any event, work continued on the race track at last report and officials are hoping practice and qualifying can resume as soon as possible

Featured Image Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images