Sainz hit with grid drop after drain damage incident
Ferrari's Carlos Sainz will have a 10 place grid penalty at the Las Vegas Grand Prix after a loose drain cover wrecked his car and forced the cancellation of Thursday's opening practise.
Race stewards turned down the Italian team's request for penalty-free repairs because they were obliged to apply the regulations as written.
“The stewards note if they had the authority to grant a derogation in what they consider in this case to be mitigating, unusual and unfortunate circumstances, they would have done so,” they said.
“However, the regulations do not allow such action.”
The governing FIA's technical delegate reported the Ferrari's survival cell, engine, energy store and control electronics were damaged beyond repair.
Drivers are allowed two energy stores for the season and Spaniard Sainz will now be on his third, triggering an automatic 10 place penalty.
Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur said the incident was “unacceptable”.
“It's tough for a team to arrive in Vegas and to have this sort of incident,” he said.
First practise lasted only eight minutes before Sainz's Ferrari hit the drain cover in a storm of sparks. A second session eventually started at 2.30am local time on Friday after safety checks.
McLaren boss Zak Brown sympathised with Ferrari and said he would have supported a waiver.
“You've got to say that's force majeure, that's nothing of their own doing,” he told Sky Sports. “A very unfortunate and unique incident. I was a bit surprised to see that.
“We need to be a bit more supporting if something like that happens. I would support them not getting a penalty.”
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