Vasseur: Vegas manhole damage to Sainz’s Ferrari ‘unacceptable’

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Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur conveyed his ire in no uncertain terms following the significant damage sustained by the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz in Thrusday's shortened FP1 in Las Vegas.

The session was red flagged after just nine minutes and subsequently canceled following an incident involving a loose ‘water valve’ structure embedded in the track’s tarmac that destroyed the floor on the cars of Sainz and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.

Sainz ran over the drain’s loose concrete frame while running down Las Vegas’ Strip and the element was immediately sucked up by the SF-23’s underside venturi.

An inspection by the Scuderia’s crews revealed damage to the Ferrari’s chassis power unit and battery, all of which will need to be replaced.

“We damaged completely the monocoque, the engine, the battery," said an angry Vasseur. "I think it’s just unacceptable. It cost us a fortune.

"We fucked up the session for Carlos. We won’t be part of FP2 for sure. I think it’s just unacceptable for F1 today."

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A thorough inspection of the drains located around the Las Vegas track is currently underway. The FIA officially stated that FP2 has been delayed until an unspecified time to allow for the checks to take place.

“We know that it’s a sporting event, we know that this can happen,” added Vasseur. “You can have a bad FP1 and now we have to recover on the weekend and we have to find solutions.

“Track time is crucial in this kind of event with a new track for the drivers but a new track also for us.

“It means that if Carlos misses FP2 at the end of the sporting side it will be detrimental, but I will keep in mind also that it could have been much worse.

“We will do our best over the weekend. It’s a long way but in every single detail it’s important.”

Over at Alpine, crews were also hard at work building up a new chassis for Ocon following similar damage sustained by the Frenchman’s A523.

Both Ferrari and Alpine will require a dispensation from the FIA to run two chassis in one day, but given the circumstances – an impact with a foreign object on the track, a case of ‘force majeure’ seems clear.

When it was suggested to Vasseur that F1 had perhaps focused too much of its attention on hyping up its racing extravaganza in Vegas rather than on the details that really matter, such as the safety of the circuit, the Ferrari boss refused to amalgamate the two matters.

"We don't have to mix everything,” he said. “I think that the show is mega and I'm very happy with what Liberty [Media] did around the race. And I think it's a huge step forward for F1.

"We have to separate what is the show and the sporting side, and the show is mega. But it's not because we are doing this that you don't have to do the job on the sporting side."

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