Carlos Sainz ran over manhole cover in first practice session in Las Vegas, forcing session to be called off; Ferrari asked to repair damage to car without incurring penalty; watch qualifying on Saturday at 8am and race on Sunday at 6am on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Showcase
Last Updated: 17/11/23 2:54pm
Carlos Sainz says he’s in “disbelief” that he has been given a 10-grid place penalty for the Las Vegas Grand Prix after Ferrari repaired his car which had hit a manhole cover.
Sainz ran over a loose manhole cover just eight minutes into the first practice session in Las Vegas on the long straight before the flat-out final corner, which damaged his power unit, chassis and survival cell.
Since the damage was out of his hands, Ferrari asked the stewards to let them replace Sainz’s energy store using a new component without incurring a penalty.
However, after discussions with the team and the FIA’s single seater director Nikolas Tombazis, the stewards did not grant the team’s request and Sainz will take the penalty for excessive usage of a power unit element, the energy store.
“The stewards note that if they had the authority to grant a derogation in what they consider in this case to be mitigating, unusual and unfortunate circumstances, they would have done so, however the regulations do not allow such action,” the stewards said.
Prior to the penalty announcement, Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur branded F1 as “unacceptable”.
Ferrari took advantage of the two-and-a-half hour delay to second practice by repairing Sainz’s car and he finished the session in second behind team-mate Charles Leclerc.
“We seem to be switching on the tyres well over one lap and being competitive, so I was quite excited and optimistic,” said Sainz.
“Unfortunately, as the session finished, the team communicated to me that I was taking a 10-place grid penalty for something that I have no fault, and the team have no fault.
“That changed completely my mindset and my opinion on the weekend and how it’s going to go from now on. I’m disappointed and in disbelief with the situation. You will not see me very happy this weekend.”
Sainz will start no higher than 11th for Sunday’s Las Vegas Grand Prix – live on Sky Sports from 6am, with qualifying at 8am on Saturday.
The Spaniard says he had a “pretty big hit on my back and neck after the incident” and called his team “heroic” for their efforts to repair his car.
However, he couldn’t hide his disappointment about the penalty, especially as Ferrari look very strong on the streets of Vegas.
Shop the Las Vegas range!
Get all the gear as Formula 1 makes its long awaited return to Las Vegas! Sign up and save 10% off your first purchase.
“There will be opportunities (on Sunday). But right now I am just too disappointed with the outcome and I don’t want to talk too much about the future because what happened today, for me, was a very clear example of how this sport can be improved in so many ways.
“The FIA, teams and rules that can clearly be applied as force majeure for me not to take a penalty but someway there is always people or ways to make the situation worse for an individual and in this case it’s my turn to pay the price.”
When to watch the Las Vegas GP live on Sky Sports
Saturday November 18
- 4:15am: Las Vegas GP Practice Three (session starts at 4.30am)
- 7am: Las Vegas Grand Prix Qualifying build-up (also on Sky Showcase)
- 8am: Las Vegas GP Qualifying (also on Sky Showcase)
- 10am: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook
Sunday November 19
- 4:30am: Grand Prix Sunday: Las Vegas GP build-up (also on Sky Showcase)
- 6am: THE LAS VEGAS GRAND PRIX (also on Sky Showcase)
- 8am: Chequered Flag: Las Vegas GP reaction (also on Sky Showcase)
- 9am: Ted’s Notebook (also on Sky Showcase)
Get ready for the big one: Formula 1 in Las Vegas! See drivers race down the Strip, and past landmarks like Caesars Palace and the Bellagio, on F1’s newest street track. Watch the Las Vegas GP weekend live on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Showcase, with lights out on Sunday at 6am. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW