Ferrari intend to have discussions about a claim for compensation over the damage done to Carlos Sainz Jnr’s car when he struck a loose water valve cover during first practice for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
The team wants to know why the session was not immediately red-flagged when the broken cover was noticed. Team principal Frederic Vasseur said it caused “millions” in damage, in addition to causing Sainz to receive a 10-place grid penalty for using his third energy store of the season, exceeding the maximum allocation.
The incident occured eight minutes into the opening practice session at the new Las Vegas Strip Circuit. Yellow flags were displayed at the Strip before Sainz arrived at the broken cover.
Pierre Gasly, Alexander Albon and Fernando Alonso all passed through the area before Sainz arrived and hit the loose cover. At that point the session was still under yellow flags, and was only red-flagged after Sainz came to a stop.
Sainz’s crash occured around 23 seconds after the yellow flags were first displayed. By the time the session was red-flagged the yellow flags had been waving for 70 seconds.
Vasseur said the session should have been stopped more quickly. “The main issue for me on this case is that when you put the first yellow flag, it means that you saw something,” he said. “You don’t put the yellow flag by anticipation.
“It means that the guy who put the yellow flag – and the yellow flag obviously on my board, this is coming from the race control – it means they saw something and then took one minute before putting the red flag. When it’s a straight line and you have metallic parts and [drivers] are at 340kph.”
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The team intends to seek compensation for the damage. “This will be a private discussion that I will have with the stakeholder of this,” said Vasseur. “But again, I’m a bit more upset with the way [they] managed it than with the incident itself.”
He acknowledged similar problems have occured at other tracks in recent years. “The incident we had precedent [for] in the past. Even in Monaco which is probably the top of the top of the street circuits, they had this kind of incident two or three years ago I think on the kerb exit turn one.
“We had the case in Malaysia, you had the case two times in Baku with the pit entry with Bottas a couple of years ago and with Russell. I think this is difficult to…