Formula 1

Daniel Ricciardo Sounds Alarm on Safety at Las Vegas GP Following Practice Session Incident

In a recent practice session for the Las Vegas Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo raised significant safety concerns following an incident involving a loose drain cover. His comments have brought to light critical issues regarding track safety and organisational preparedness in Formula One.

Key Takeaways:

  • Practice Session Incident: The first practice session was abruptly halted and delayed due to a loose drain cover that caused considerable damage to Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari and Esteban Ocon’s Alpine. This incident underlines the potential hazards in street circuits and the need for rigorous safety checks.
  • Concerns Over Safety and Financial Impacts: Ricciardo stressed the importance of safety, along with the financial strain these incidents place on teams. He questioned whether the excitement of a new venue might have led to a compromise in safety standards, a critical aspect that should never be overlooked.
  • Effect on Fans and Event Schedule: The delay and the subsequent decision to ask fans to leave early due to inadequate security staff resulted in a unique situation where the drivers were racing in almost empty grandstands. This situation not only impacted the fans’ experience but also raised questions about the overall organization of the event.

In the aftermath of the disrupted Las Vegas Grand Prix practice session, McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo voiced serious concerns about the event’s safety measures and preparation. He highlighted the financial burden of such incidents on teams and the paramount importance of safety, stating:

“It’s a fair question. We’re like, yeah it’s a late day, but two cars got ruined. Along with that there is a financial thing there for the teams, which is a big issue for them, but then you brought up the biggest issue which is safety. So fortunately Carlos is OK, but those things could be greater — when I say greater I mean bigger consequences. I don’t know, I think it’s easy to say we did opening ceremonies and focused on other things and did they do their due diligence on the track? But with everything that happened today, you could ask some questions like did they do enough? That one for sure I can’t side step, that is a safety concern, and we’re here late but the safety one is something hopefully they will take pretty seriously.”

Ricciardo further emphasized the need for stringent safety checks, especially in street circuits, by mentioning past incidents in Monaco and Baku. He underscored the difference in safety criteria between permanent and street circuits, suggesting that the latter may require additional safety measures due to their unique challenges.

The incident not only affected the teams and drivers but also had a significant impact on the fans and the event’s schedule. Despite the challenges, Ricciardo tried to maintain a positive outlook, acknowledging the effort put into the event and the importance of getting some track time for the teams and entertainment for the fans, albeit under less than ideal circumstances.

This incident at the Las Vegas Grand Prix serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of safety in Formula One, highlighting the need for continuous improvement and vigilance in all aspects of race organization, especially in new and complex venues like street circuits.

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