The Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend has got off to an inauspicious start with the first practice session cancelled a matter of minutes after starting, thanks to a loose drain cover.

There’s been a huge amount of hype going into this weekend about the race at the iconic Nevada venue but, just eight minutes in, FP1 came to a halt with Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari stopping out on track and sparking a red flag.

Hardly a smooth start to proceedings for the GP weekend, and it got even rougher moments later with the reason for the red flag being revealed: a loose drain cover.

Indeed, the issue conked out the Ferrari of Sainz, with damage also being caused to the floor of Esteban Ocon’s Alpine, with the team confirming that they will be changing the chassis of the Frenchman’s car due to damage sustained.

The issue will evoke memories of the FP1 session at the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which saw George Russell’s Williams suffer damage with a similar problem around drain covers.

And, in 2017, another scenario ended with the Sepang circuit in Malaysia paying Haas compensation after damage caused to Romain Grosjean’s car – it remains to be seen if we end up going down that route.

The FIA is now exploring the cause of the loose drain cover and is working on how best to remedy the situation with FP2 to come at midnight local time.

“Following inspection, it was the concrete frame around a manhole cover that failed,” the FIA stated. “We now need to check all of the other manhole covers which will take some time – we will be discussing with the local circuit engineering team about the length of time it will take to resolve and will update with any resultant changes to the schedule.”

For what it’s worth – and it’s worth very little given we had next to no running on a brand new circuit – Charles Leclerc posted the fastest time in FP1, whilst the Haas drivers of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen accompanied him in the top three.

Five drivers did not even get to set a time around the new circuit before the session concluded early, including both Aston Martin and Williams drivers, plus Oscar Piastri.

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