FormulaNerds Cut To The Race Podcast

Piastri Las Vegas

Piastri slams Las Vegas Grand Prix organisers as he claims it was ‘very disappointing for fans’

Piastri has admitted that “it was not an ideal first day” at the Las Vegas Grand Prix

Latest Episode | Cut To The Race Podcast

McLaren driver Oscar Piastri was left wondering how the Free Practice One water valve issue was allowed to happen after similar incidents in recent years. But is reassured that the Las Vegas Grand Prix has learnt a lot and will “get it better for next year”.

Drain cover is repairing before practice ahead of the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix at Las Vegas Strip Circuit in Las Vegas, United States on November 17, 2023. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Small setbacks for the Las Vegas Grand Prix

The opening session of on-track action was significantly anti-climactic after a much-hyped yearlong build-up, with Free Practice One lasting only eight minutes. Carlos Sainz was the victim of a temperamental water valve cover that came loose and launched itself into the underside of his Ferrari.

This incident caused a two-and-a-half-hour delay in starting an extended Free Practice Two to compensate for the time lost in the first session.

Manhole and drain cover issues have been seen in races in recent years at the Monaco Grand Prix and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix but are not limited to street circuits, with F1 seeing similar incidents at both the Chinese and Malaysian Grand Prix. However, Piastri was a firm believer that the drain cover coming loose should not have happened, claiming that “it’s not like it’s not been an issue in the past.”

Speaking to SpeedCafe, Piastri said:

“Obviously, it was not an ideal first day, drains have been an issue a couple of times before, and there are clearly a lot of them here.

“I know it’s public roads and stuff, but guaranteeing those kinds of things are safe is probably the number one priority.

“I know that the drains are different here to some other places, maybe that means different measures. But it’s not like it’s not been an issue in the past.”

Can Las Vegas become a fan favourite?

It wasn’t just the on-track where there were issues. Fans had to pay a premium to get access to watch the on-track action compared to most of the races on the calendar. However, due to the delay from the water valve situation earlier, the fans were ejected from the track.

The setback resulted in a lack of staff and security for the number of spectators. However, the Las Vegas Grand Prix offered a $200 merchandise voucher for Thursday ticket holders as compensation.

Despite this, fans were not satisfied, and after Qualifying, a Nevada-based law firm launched legal proceedings against the organisers in the hope of a substantial refund.

Piastri agreed with fans and stated that he thought the fans “could have been told earlier”.

“As for the fans, I understand why they (the FIA) wanted to run a session on the first day to see what the track is like and see if there were any other issues that would arise,” added the Australian.

“But driving race cars at three o’clock in the morning, four o’clock in the morning, leaving at sunrise, it’s a different kind of day for us, as opposed to it being a normal timezone where practice gets pushed back an hour or two later in the afternoon.

“I’m sure they’ll learn a lot of things from that and get it better for next year.

“Obviously, it was very disappointing for fans that they didn’t get to see anything. I get the laws and stuff, but maybe they could have been told earlier that that was the direction it was going to go.”


Featured Image: Photo by Jay Hirano ATPImages/Getty Images

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.

Back to the top