Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur was left furious by the “unacceptable” track issue that led to Carlos Sainz sustaining heavy damage at the start of FP1 and miss the second session at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Sainz struck a loose drain cover at 200mph and stopped on track, with Esteban Ocon having also suffered a similar issue that led to the session being red flagged after eight minutes and then called off. Vasseur was left fuming at the cost of the incident, that led to multiple expensive items needing to be replaced by Ferrari
“The situation is we damaged the monocoque completely – the engine, the batteries… and I think it’s just unacceptable,” Vasseur said. “We had a very tough FP1, it cost us a fortune, we f****d up the session for Carlos, we won’t be part of the FP2 for sure. We have to change the chassis, half the car, to set-up the car… OK the show is the show and everything is going well but I think it’s just unacceptable for the F1 today.”
However, Vasseur stated he didn’t feel it was an issue with the Las Vegas event itself, viewing track homologation as a separate matter that shouldn’t reflect poorly on the event.
“We don’t have to mix everything. I think the show is mega and I’m very happy with what Liberty 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.
“The show is mega, I was in the paddock club yesterday when they did the ceremony and it was something that I never saw before… I think it was something mega for F1. But it’s not because we are doing this that you don’t have to do the job on the sporting side.
“I think it’s two separate things. I don’t want to mix everything and to say they were cheap on the sporting side because they did the show, it’s not true. You can do the show and do a good job on the sporting side, it’s two separate things.
“This happened in Monaco a couple of years ago. I remember in Baku, 2019, I remember we had a couple of occasions like this. Again, I was really convinced before FP1 that the event was mega for the F1, and I’m still convinced, and we have to continue in this direction.
“I remember for Zandvoort when they added music into the grandstands, everybody had to copy them the race after. I think it will do a step forward in the right direction from Vegas, and everybody perhaps can’t do the same standard but will go in that direction in terms of show.
“We have to take care of the sporting side. It’s a completely different story. It’s not because we are doing the show that… for sure I’m frustrated. I’m always scared because Carlos hit the metallic part at 320kph and it could have been much worse.”
McLaren team principal Zak Brown expressed sympathy with both Ferrari and Alpine, but says the most important matter now is ensuring there is no repeat for the rest of the weekend.
“First of all, any time you have an incident, first we’ve got to fix it and then look back and go, ‘How did it happen?’” Brown said. “Whether that’s a track issue, or a problem you have with your car, whatever the case may be, I think it would be unfair and quick to judge that corners were cut. This has happened before, it’s happened in Baku, I remember when it happened in sports car racing in Montreal many years ago.
“So it’s an unfortunate incident, I don’t think it’s because effort wasn’t put in or corners were cut, it’s just that somehow they got it wrong. Right now we just need to focus on fixing it and then look back and go, ‘How did we get it wrong?’ and I’m sure it was an engineering issue that will get solved. But they’ve spared no expense on the entire event, so I think they just got it wrong.”