Ferrari boss labels Carlos Sainz's Las Vegas GP drain cover incident 'unacceptable'

Who's to blame for 'unacceptable' FP1 damage to Carlos Sainz's Ferrari? (2:03)

The Unlapped team discuss where blame lies following the damage caused to Carlos Sainz's Ferarri by a loose drain cover in practice in Las Vegas. (2:03)

LAS VEGAS - The incident which led to the cancellation of first practice for the Las Vegas Grand Prix was "unacceptable" for Formula One, said Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur.

The opening session to F1's $500 million new race lasted just eight minutes before Carlos Sainz's Ferrari dislodged a drain cover, which caused significant damage to the underside of his car.

Alpine also confirmed they will have to change chassis on Esteban Ocon's car, having gone over the same point on track.

Ferrari has already confirmed Sainz will not take part in second practice if it goes ahead, which has not yet been confirmed.

"What he said is I think it was on the [radio], 'I hit something on the track', he didn't know exactly what it was. The situation is we damaged completely the monocoque, the engine, the batteries... and I think it's just unacceptable," Vasseur said.

"I'm not sure this is the topic for me today. We had a very tough FP1, it cost us a fortune, we f----- 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, okay the show is the show and everything is going well but I think it's just unacceptable for the F1 today."

The FIA hopes to hold a 90-minute second practice session at 2.30AM, two and a half hours later than it would have been.

For that to happen, an estimated 20-30 water valve covers down the Strip need to be fixed with quick-setting concrete. Nevada law prevents them being welded down, which has been F1's approach since a cover came loose under George Russell's car in practice for the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Las Vegas' new race kicked off with a big opening ceremony event on Wednesday, which had a mixed reaction from drivers.

Max Verstappen said after the event the Vegas GP is 99 percent show and one percent sport.

Vasseur rejected any suggestion F1's new event had fallen short on the safety side due to all the focus on hyping the event.

"I think it's two separate things," Vasseur said. "I don't want to mix everything and say, sorry for the expression, that they did shit 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."

The incident was a farcical start to the most hyped race in F1's modern history, albeit in a non-competitive session - qualifying will take place at midnight between Friday and Saturday.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff defended the event and said the setback was largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, referencing the late start times on the Las Vegas session schedule.

"That is not a black eye, this is nothing, we are Thursday night, we have a free practice one session that we're not doing, they're going to seal the drain covers and nobody's going to talk about that tomorrow morning anymore."

When a journalist at the press conference appeared to disagree outloud with Wolff's statement about no-one remembering the incident in the morning, he went on the attack.

"It's completely ridiculous, completely ridiculous, FP1 how can you even dare trying to talk bad about an event that sets the new standards, new standards to everything.

"You're speaking about a f------ drain cover that's been undone, that has happened before, that's nothing, it's FP1, give credit to the people who have set up this grand prix, that have made this sport much bigger than it ever was.

"Have you ever spoken good about someone and written a good word? You should about all these people out here Liberty has done an awesome job, and just because in FP1 a drain cover has become undone we shouldn't be moaning.

"The car is broken, that's really a shame, for Carlos it could have been dangerous, between the FIA and track everyone needs to analyse how we can make sure that this is not happening again, but talking here about a black eye for the sport on a Thursday evening, nobody watches that in European time anyway."