Red Bull boss Christian Horner concedes that the delay to FP2 in Las Vegas is “a great shame for the fans, but safety comes first,” after a loose drain cover cut first practice short.

Free Practice 1 lasted less than 10 minutes after a loose drain cover caused damage to the floor of Esteban Ocon’s Alpine and significant damage to Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari.

Formula 1 has set out to commence FP2 at 2 AM local time (10 AM GMT) with an extended session, subject to the circuit being safe at the time.

The incident, reminiscent of a similar mishap in Baku back in 2019, caused significant concern for Ferrari Team Principal Fred Vasseur with his team now facing a huge task to rebuild Sainz’s car, but Horner’s concerns go out to the fans and the sport as a whole and he told Sky Sports F1 about the need to check the track is safe before running resumes.

“I mean they’re going to have to check them all just to make sure it’s safe to run,” Horner said of the rest of the drains on the Vegas street circuit.

“These cars are doing such a speed so close to the ground. We’ve just got to make sure that it’s safe. We’ve just got to be flexible.

“It’s a great shame for the fans that have come out to see the cars running, but safety comes first.”

Sainz suffered most from the loose drain cover – Photo: XPB Images

The proposed new start time for FP2 will be two hours later than the original schedule, with an extended running time of 90 minutes should it get underway at 2 AM local.

The extra running in an extended practice session will be vital for teams to continue to get to grips with the brand-new Vegas street circuit.

Track temperatures have been a key concern due to the cool climate at night in Vegas, but Horner admitted things looked better than hoped in the brief running his cars had in first practice.

“It’s not like Istanbul was where it was super slippery on the surface,” he added. “The surface actually, whilst fresh, the tyre temperatures were all coming up and everything was starting to behave quite well.

“It was just a shame the running got cut short because it was just starting to come in.

“They [the drivers] have said that it is like driving in the wet on slicks at the moment, but that’s normal for such a new surface. Especially in the braking zones, it’s quite tricky.”

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