The second practice session for the 2023 Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix has been postponed due to a manhole cover issue that previously halted FP1. The delay adds to the challenges faced by teams and fans, marking a tense start to the much-anticipated event.
The Formula 1 community in Las Vegas was met with unexpected drama as the second practice session for the city’s Grand Prix faced delays due to safety concerns. The issue originated during the first practice session (FP1) when a manhole cover was dislodged, causing substantial damage to Carlos Sainz’s SF23 and Esteban Ocon’s A523. This incident led to an immediate suspension of FP1 and a subsequent delay in FP2.
The severity of the situation became apparent when Sainz and Ocon encountered serious damage to their vehicles due to the loose manhole cover. The FIA has since embarked on a comprehensive inspection of the other manholes around the lengthy 3.9-mile track, a necessary but time-consuming process given the roughly 40 manholes in question.
A joint statement from Formula 1 and Las Vegas Grand Prix organisers promised updates on the race schedule, yet the only official information following this was the announcement of FP2’s delay. This lack of clarity has fueled rumors and speculation within the Vegas paddock complex, with some predicting changes to the day’s schedule, though nothing has been confirmed.
Teams, especially Ferrari, are understandably concerned about the state of the track, as highlighted by team boss Fred Vasseur. He noted the extensive damage to Sainz’s car, emphasizing the seriousness of the incident. This situation not only impacts the teams but also the fans, many of whom have been looking forward to witnessing F1 action in Las Vegas for the first time in over four decades.
In summary, the excitement surrounding the Las Vegas Grand Prix has been overshadowed by safety concerns following a manhole cover incident, leading to significant delays and uncertainty.